Pray Much

When you look at refugee camps such as Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya, it is very tempting to surrender to the thought that the situation for refugees is hopeless. Pedro Arrupe, SJ understood just how impossible the task of helping refugees was. In his last speech to Jesuit Refugee Service staff in Asia just days before a stroke paralyzed him, Fr. Arrupe said, “I will say one more thing, and please don’t forget it. Pray. Pray much. Problems such as these are not solved by human efforts.” No matter how hard the JRS staff may work, Arrupe understood that they must realize and accept that ultimately only God can fulfill the work which is why prayer is an essential part of the work. And it is through prayer that we learn how to best imitate the self-emptying love of Christ which goes way beyond charity and philanthropy.

To fulfill Fr. Arrupe’s hope that the JRS staff become men and women for others, they had to give like Christ gave, had to give out of love. Arrupe said, “Christian justice is a part of Christian love.” It is easy to give from our abundance, but to give ourselves is another matter altogether. To give and love like Christ means we just don’t give what we have, but we give what we are. We give ourselves. Arrupe believed that love compels us give more than we can afford by limiting and even renouncing our own needs and interests in order to give to others. This is self-emptying love. This is Christ-centered love. And it is through this kind of love that hope shines through the darkness of the camps and lights a way for justice to prevail.

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