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Listen (March 2010)
Monday, March 01, 2010

Women wait at a makeshift health center at an orphanage in Leogane.
(Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J. - JRS/USA)

During Lent, Christians accompany Jesus into the desert and listen carefully with him in order to hear the word that God speaks to them at this particular moment in their lives.

The recent tragedy in Haiti has called the entire international community to listen to the needs of the many thousands of displaced earthquake victims.  As we ask ourselves how we might best respond to needs of the Haitian people, let’s listen . . . listen prayerfully to their needs and hopes.

“Surely the only way to learn about the hope of a refugee is to listen to him. Our biggest temptation on seeing the distress of the refugees …  is to begin projects, to give material things, to decide what the refugees need.
 
They often arrive in exile without shoes, with only one torn shirt, hungry and without a clear plan. But they did not undergo this experience in order to get a shirt or shoes. Their human experience calls for respect. They are traumatized by violence, lonely, rejected, exhausted in body certainly, but also exhausted by losing their place in a stable society, and sometimes feeling guilty about what they did in order to survive.
 
They want to be understood, to be heard. Their frequent question is: Why is God doing this to me? They have a right to ask this question. But it cannot be asked unless someone listens. This is our primary role, to listen to the questions, to the longing and the fundamental human need of the refugees.” Mark Raper, S.J., former JRS International Director, Pastoral accompaniment among refugees — the JRS experience, September 1998.


Reflections for Prayer


Suggested Reading for Prayer
1 Samuel 3:1-10

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli, a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
 
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
 
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.
 
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
 
He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me." "I did not call you," Eli said. "Go back to sleep." So he went back to sleep.
 
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. "Here I am," he said. "You called me." But he answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."
 
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
 
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me." Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
 
So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" 
 
When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."