Prayer for Peace – December 29, 2019
Michael Aaron Wright Director, European Programs, Duquesne University
God of Refuge,
José is awakened, startled at the violence in his pueblo. The screams of neighbors, the invisible annunciation of exile. No place to raise a child, no hope or change in sight. Destruction and corruption threatens his family.
Youssef is awakened, startled by the sound of bombs and artillery,
The sound of crumbling buildings around his newborn announce the only alternative, “Leave!” War and death threatens his family.
Who are we to say that an angel did not appear to warn these holy families? Are we people of so little faith?
María walks in faith, the long treacherous road, lined with wolves and thieves. Her vision is of a promised land, a place of refuge and stability. Her dreams at night, a warm home and a peaceful future for her little one.
Mariam covers the child, waves Youssef on, as they flee into the night. Kilometers on foot, hitchhiking occasionally – she suckles her child in the back of a truck,
Headed for other lands.
Her vision is to live in peace.
Her dreams are about her child living his potential.
Who are we to say that dreams and visions didn’t occur?
Is not anything possible with God?
José and María arrive at the hurdle, the border between violence and stability. José taken by gangs for
María told she cannot enter.
She leaves Jesús, who can now walk, to walk the last steps with a transparent envelope of documents around his neck. She kisses him goodbye, and points him towards the border guard. “May God
protect you, she whispers. Know that I love you.”
María remains alone and vulnerable in Matamoros.
Youssef and Mariam arrive at the hurdle, the sea between violence and stability.
Youssef decides to brave nature, “I will call for you, come for you, once I have
arrived in a place of stability and peace.”
Mariam and Tifl, rely on the mercy of locals,
Eventually finding refuge in a camp with deplorable conditions,
on the Isle of Lesbos.
God of Innocence,
Why do we keep them locked out of the kingdom?
Who are we to say that violence didn’t exist and
they are better in their hunger, loneliness, misery, and vulnerable states?
Jesús, cries himself to sleep, soiled and hungry - swaddled in a mylar blanket on a cold detention- center floor. A choir of hopelessness comes from the children who take care of Jesús – José and María are not to be found.
Youssef is swallowed by the sea, his hope cut short. His last thoughts of Mariam and his sweet Tifl.
“Father, take my place in guiding them to safety and welcome me into Your arms.”
Mariam knows not the plight of her husband and awaits in hope,
Her prayer for salvation.
God Who Speaks Today,
Why are we not there to “tear down walls of separation and to build bridges of understanding”? (D&C 162:6b)
Why have we not replaced our Stop signs with Green lights of welcome?
Behold, this is the HOLY FAMILY.
Joseph, José, Youssef.
Mary, María, Mariam.
Jesus, Jesús, and Isa.
And all others who suffer.
They may not look like us. Sound like us. But they are US.
With the same desires and dreams of hope, joy and peace.
Our prayer is to understand how to live the words we received from You:
Help us to dry Your tears,
Through abolishing poverty,
Finding the displaced,
Loving the mistreated,
And as we seek cures for the diseased of this world.
Help us to understand how we can make unnecessary suffering no longer necessary.
Help our ears to be open to the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a
future of hope for their children.
Help to have the courage to not turn away from them.
We recognize that in their welfare resides our welfare. (D&C 163:4b)
We plead for these stories and journeys to change to happy ones; ones of redemption, ones of Shalom.
In Your name,