Pope Francis’ visit was inspiring on so many levels…and his ongoing example of love and acceptance - of seeing Christ in people who are the poorest, the most vulnerable, the least accepted - can be challenging. He gives us an example of a counter-cultural, loving response to people that society and government shun …injustices that people have experienced for generations.
His words to us regarding ministering to immigrants acknowledge the challenges, but urge us to not let these challenges become roadblocks to what God calls us to do. Pope Francis encourages us to go deeper - beyond the observable facts and societal norms – to experience the mystery of the person, their pilgrimage, and how we connect.
Pope Francis said, “Perhaps it will not be easy for you to look into their soul; perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity. But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared…so do not be afraid to welcome them. Offer them the warmth of the love of Christ and you will unlock the mystery of their heart. I am certain that, as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its Church.”
The Holy Family faced a life similar to today’s immigrants. Several years ago, I wrote reflections on the mysteries of the rosary based on the immigrant, their families, the undocumented, and the advocate. As October is the month of the rosary, let us pray these mysteries and respond to God’s urgings.
ROSARY FOR THE IMMIGRANT
BASED ON THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES
Written by Sr. Roberta Treppa, D.C.
1st MYSTERY-- THE ANNUNCIATION
Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God - of Jesus our Savior - of our Eternal Redeemer. Every day in poor countries, family members are chosen-or choose-to do something so selfless as to leave family and homeland…all for a better life for their loved ones. Their YES often means hardships along the way, but they offer hope for the future for those back home.
2nd MYSTERY-- THE VISITATION
Mary journeyed to accompany Elizabeth – to be with her when she needed support the most. Many immigrants journey together to their unknown, yet hope-filled future, …encouraging, comforting, protecting and supporting one another through dangerous territory. Together they trust in God and thank and praise Him for His presence and protection.
3rd MYSTERY-- THE NATIVITY
Mary and Joseph struggled to find a “proper” place for Jesus to be born. Similarly, the immigrant also often finds it difficult to find a “proper” place to settle…to start working. They are often subjected to unjust wages and working conditions. Despite the pains, the struggles, and the tears, the exhausting work of a new life and new beginnings brings hope to a suffering world back home.
4th MYSTERY-- THE PRESENTATION
Mary offered the Christ Child to God. Think of all that immigrants offer to go through, understanding the risks…the arduous journey…the unforgiving desert…dangers of dehydration, injury, trafficking, being sent back home, or even death. Immigrants put it on the line. They put all trust in God, placing themselves and their journey under His guidance and protection.
5th MYSTERY-- THE FINDING OF THE CHRIST CHILD
What relief must have come to Mary and Joseph upon finding Jesus when you consider all the possible things that could have happened. Immigrants travel in groups through treacherous lands. Some fall behind…or get injured or dehydrated…or are victims of trafficking…or get caught and sent back to their country… or die. What joy and relief come to family and friends when their loved one is found to be safe.