I calm down as I settle down to pray. I breathe in and out gently. As I breathe in I become aware of the presence of God who is all around. As I breathe out, I let go of any thoughts and preoccupations, thus emptying my mind and heart in order to focus on the Lord.
Kidane, a geography teacher from Eritrea, fled from his country because he was being forced to become a soldier instead of teaching. He morally objected to the violence of war. Another reason for his escape from his country was due to the general situation there: no liberty, no freedom of speech, no safety, constant strife between the different ethnic groups.
As a refugee, he met two children who had run away from home. Kidane invited them to his flat, gave them something to eat, then took them back home. At first their grandmother judged him to be a criminal and a thief. But when the children explained how kind he had been to them, she thanked him profusely.
He comments that in the country where he is now living there are two types of people: those who consider him to be an angel and those who judge him to be a criminal. He would love to be considered as a normal human being, like everyone else.
Time to reflect:
The grandmother’s first reaction was one of mistrust.
- Do I understand why she reacted this way?
- Have I ever done so myself?
- What can I do to keep from forming an opinion before I know all the facts?
- What can I do to help immigrants and refugees feel welcome?
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, grant that we may always welcome refugees in our country and help others do so too by the way we speak about them.
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela
When we meet refugees in our place of work, schools, shops, or towns we will do our best to make them feel welcome in our society by including them in our conversations and giving both them and ourselves the opportunity to get to know each other.