Sunday, May 18, 2008

We can still pray

The day before yesterday, as I walked home from work, I overtook a couple walking in the same direction. For a brief moment, it was inevitable that I overheard some of their conversation. At the time, I had no idea of what they were talking and paid no attention…and then I saw the news on television. It was then that I realised that the woman had just witnessed a man slip to his death between two train carriages as he tried to retrieve the presents he’d bought for his wife and son and then accidentally left on the train as he jumped from his seat on arriving at the station.

Also, at this time, the news is full of the sights and sounds of China. Gone are the grumbles about human rights, Olympic Games and the countries through which the Olympic flame travelled. Suddenly, we hear of a desperate race against time as the country is mobilised towards the earthquake zone. We see miraculous rescues and distraught families, electricity in Chengdu and rubble outside this important city. There is a tragedy that is too big for the human mind to encompass. We reach a stage when numbers become almost impersonal simply because something beyond our imagination and experience has taken place within the past few days and, as C.S. Lewis once wrote, “The human mind cannot take too much suffering.”

Not far away, in Myanmar, there are staggeringly high numbers of people who are displaced, starving, homeless and grieving for whole families, entire towns and villages that, only days ago, were thriving and busy. Stories of suffering, frustration, anger, grief and indifference abound. We know so little and can do even less. My own contacts with the country during the course of the week have all ended in the same way: “Please, just pray for us.”

We travel across the globe to Zimbabwe, where injustice, brutality and hardship have become the order of the day…

There are so many people who need our prayers at this present time, so many who need our love. Huge numbers are grieving over the loss of those they have loved and still love, but who have been abruptly taken away or are suffering beyond their capacity. We can do so little, but we can pray, whoever and wherever we are, for people who are in desperate need of God’s comfort and support at this time.

God bless,
Sr. Janet