Today, on the tiny island of Lesbos, Greece, Pope Francis, the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew, and the Archbishop of Athens, His Beatitude Ieronymos, have issued a resounding call to arms – not the arms of war, but the arms of compassion for all those refugees seeking entry into the European Union.
The Archbishop of Athens pleaded:
From this island, Lesvos, I hope to begin a worldwide movement of awareness in order for this current course to be changed by those who hold the fate of nations in their hands and bring back the peace and safety to every home, to every family, to every citizen.
The Ecumenical Patriarch begged:
Those who are afraid of you have not looked at you in the eyes. Those who are afraid of you do not see your faces. Those who are afraid of you do not see your children.
And Pope Francis implored:
This is the message I want to leave with you today: do not lose hope! The greatest gift we can offer one another is love: a merciful look, a readiness to listen and understand, a word of encouragement, a prayer. May you share this gift with one another. We Christians love to tell the story of the Good Samaritan, a foreigner who saw a man in need and immediately stopped to help. For us, it is a story about God’s mercy which is meant for everyone, for God is the All-Merciful. It is also a summons to show that same mercy to those in need. May all our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the Good Samaritan, come to your aid in the spirit of fraternity, solidarity and respect for human dignity that has distinguished its long history.
God’s Mercy and Julian
Julian understood from her Revelations and the reality of her own life that God’s righteousness and mercy know no bounds:
And thus in rightfulness and in mercy he will be known and loved, now and without end. And the soul that wisely beholds this in grace is well rewarded with both [rightfulness and mercy], and endlessly rejoices.
But it is imperative that we become the means by which God's righteousness and mercy reach those in need! We must become the arms of Christ himself in our own time and place, embracing, healing, feeding, clothing, comforting all who are in such desperate straits. We have only to begin . . . in some small way . . . to think about how we can help.
Certainly, we help through our prayers and liturgies offered for all victims of war, the fearful, the needy, the persecuted, the desperate. We may also urge our elected officials to allow refugees of war and persecution to be granted entry into our country. Maybe we can help sponsor a child or a refugee family or make a financial donation to a worthy organization that is giving aid in the midst of this humanitarian crisis, the worst since World War II.
Imagine if every one of us did something to respond to the cries of the poor and destitute? The pleas of our church leaders? There would be an international “Call to Arms” that would work miracles!
It is Christ himself who is begging our help:
'. . . for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. . . Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Mt 25:35-36).
Let us take time to read the speeches of the Church leaders in America Magazine (quoted above and linked below). Let us pray deeply to discern how we may respond to this resounding call to reach out to victims of war and persecution with arms of compassionate mercy. Julian, whose Revelations are all about God’s unconditional love and mercy, will surely help us find a way to help.
All text copyrighted © 2013-2018 by Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. No copying or reprints allowed without the express permission of the Author.