If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
This passage from Luke, along with the letter in yesterday’s reading from St. Paul’s Lenten Journey book, really struck a chord in me. And as I have been praying the rosary today, meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries, I begin to realize some of the pain and suffering our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing this Lent, and how closely they are associated with our Crucified Jesus, suffering in the Garden.
I have friends, and maybe you do as well, who are so-called ‘undocumented immigrants.’ They are beautiful, holy, devout, Catholic people, devoted to God, our Church and their brothers and sisters in Christ. They are peaceful, hard workers and they are beloved by God. They came to this country for a better life, and due to politics and circumstances, through no fault of their own, have been unable to become citizens, even though they have tried. They have young children who are citizens, and they are living in fear of opening their door to ICE and being ripped away from their sons and daughters, and from the country where they have worked and paid taxes for more than 3 decades. ICE vehicles have been seen in the neighborhood.
These people, and all who are like them, need our prayers. The vast number of immigrants are hard workers. They are not criminals or taking advantage of government programs. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ and they are living in the Agony of the Garden. They are praying that that this cup will pass, but only God knows the future. There is panic and worry for the children who will be left behind if they are imprisoned and deported. There is an unsettled feeling of constant fear and anxiety, not knowing the future, but feeling as though they are being hunted like animals, without respite.
We know by faith, that God always brings great good out of evil if He permits bad things to happen in our lives. The Death of Christ brought life to the world, and we are called to resemble our Crucified Savior. We are called to trust even in the worst circumstances, to remain at peace, submitting all to God and His Divine Providence. But it is not easy. Jesus Himself sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Why did He suffer? Was He sweating blood for fear of what was to become of Him? Was He sweating blood for anxiety over the souls who be lost throughout the ages because they refused to repent and believe in the Gospel He preached? I do not have the answer. But I know all who love Him wish they could comfort him in His sorrow and suffering. We can do that in real time now with our prayers, but even more so by seeing Him in those who are suffering around us, and comforting them with our words and kindness and help.
Please, I beg you, let us pray with great fervor for our fellow pilgrims on the journey, that they will be at peace in this time of great need, and will be protected from separation from their loved ones, especially their young children. And let us pray also, that if God does not permit this cup to pass, that they will be safe and will find peace in accepting His Divine Will for them, their families and their futures. May God’s Will be done for them and for us.
St. Paul of the Cross, lover of the Divine Will, pray for us.
Your sister in Jesus and Mary,