Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 11 December
Let the wasteland rejoice and bloom... let it rejoice and sing for joy.
So often we only look at the surface of things. Whenever we open the paper or switch on the news, our world can seem immersed in conflict and destruction.
But our faith calls us to see things in a different light. Even in the driest desert, we hope that one day new life and joy will bloom.
Mohammed, 25, fled Iran with his wife and their baby. Mohammed had lived in Iran since he was a child, but he is originally from Afghanistan. A law was passed that all Afghans had to leave the country, so he had no choice but to leave with his family.
“People keep asking why we left,” he explains, “but you should see how the conditions are there. People can’t understand, we have a war at home, it’s not possible to go on living like that.”
Mohammed’s family have been given a room in a refugee hostel in Greece. He is grateful to have a safe roof over their heads at last. “The journey was very difficult,” he remembers, “but when I arrived here it felt like I had been reborn.”
“Migration is a chance for people to bloom”
The UN estimates that 66 million people, like Mohammed and his family, are forcibly displaced worldwide. It’s staggering.
But like Mohammed, many refugees have reason to hope. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is himself the grandson of a migrant, and he understands the journey many refugees take today. He reflects:
“Migration is a chance for people to bloom as human beings. It is a chance for them to create a better life for themselves and future generations. Like Christ on his journey to the cross, migration pushes people beyond their physical and mental borders, it stretches their capacities and takes them through deserts of loneliness and rejection. But people bear this journey of sacrifice for a noble cause.”
God of all the earth, open our hearts to understand the hopes and struggles of people fleeing their homes. May we, through our actions, let the shoots of your love and mercy blossom. And let us rejoice in the new life you give. Amen.
Pray for our sisters and brothers who are making fearful journeys.