by Kathy Keary
Our full series in the Contemplative Prayer Video Series is here.
I recently stumbled across a reflection that I wrote several years ago following a mission trip to Honduras titled “From Cross to Resurrection.” I will share it here as we journey through Lent witnessing the Ukrainian children carrying a tremendous cross as they escape violence and bloodshed as refugees.
As I traveled to the orphanage in Honduras, my heart was filled with sadness at the thought of 49 little girls separated from a traditional family setting. Even though some of the girls’ parents were deceased, most had been taken from their families wounded by severe neglect, brutal abuse, or abandonment. One could not spend time with these girls without recognizing the history of pain in their brief lives. Their innocence had been shattered by evil at the hands of the ones who were to love them unconditionally.
Excitement filled the air when the girls were introduced to their visitors from the states. They competed for our undivided attention not unlike what one would expect among siblings in conventional family life. Our inability to speak Spanish was not a barrier to communication. Words were not necessary as we deeply touched one another playing patty cake, shooting hoops, and creating artwork. Eyes locked, smiles were exchanged, laughter filled the air, and the tender presence of Jesus was undeniable.
Spending time with the girls was an eye-opening experience. The flawed love of their parents had been replaced by the selfless affection of nuns and volunteers who cared deeply for their welfare. A Spirit-filled existence allowed the girls to blossom into a close-knit family. Older children nurtured younger ones. Sisterhood was firmly planted as evidenced by the faithful support they extended to one another. The tie they shared was clearly an unbreakable bond that allowed them to move forward experiencing the best of what life offers.
At a very young age, these brave children were forced to embrace the cross in their lives. Totally blameless in their loss, they have been victimized by the worse kind of betrayal and pain at the hands of their own flesh and blood. Strength has been gained by helping one another carry the cross that has been placed in their lives. Their smiles, laughter, and camaraderie witnessed to the fact that they have overcome bit by bit their tragedy to find the joy and solace of the Resurrection.
My concern turned into a sacred peace realizing that these little ones have walked the way of the cross. They have been betrayed, tortured, abandoned, and crucified. Consolation can be found in knowing that along the way they have discovered an enormous treasure: the new life offered in the Resurrection. They are in grand company sharing with Jesus in his great sacrifice.
My prayer today is for the children of Ukraine. They are enduring unthinkable heartbreak as they flee the comforts of their home escaping to foreign lands sensing the uncertainty in their parents’ words and demeanor. May these families recognize that Jesus is right there with them as they share in his cross just like he will accompany them to the new life offered in the Resurrection. May they cling to hope as they walk the way of the cross.
I invite you to join me in prayer today by expressing through the arts all that is stirring within you. Perhaps you will be moved to art journaling, writing a poem, creating a dance, or composing a song. Spend time honoring these precious lives as you lift them in prayer. When you finish your prayer, return to the video.
You are invited to walk the Way of the Cross with the staff of Precious Blood Renewal Center. Join us as we pray the Stations of the Cross: The Way of the Cross: A Visual Meditation.
I look forward to spending time with you next week as we journey through Holy Week.
God bless you on your Lenten journey.
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[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]
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