Reflections on the Mystery in the Manger, the Word made Flesh, must bring us round to other Flesh that needs our particular care and attention. In the way that Jesus enters our world and human chronicle we see a sensitivity for the poor, the wandering, the vulnerable. Pope Francis has been aptly reminding the world of this in his words during this Christmas tide. I was very struck yesterday, with the words below that he added to his prepared text of his New Year’s Message on the spot.
“What on earth is happening in the hearts of men?
What on earth is happening in the heart of humanity?
It’s time to stop!”
Continuing the daily contributions from word-artists through the Epiphany, January 5th (as promised!), I offer two today in light of Pope Francis’ passionate questions and (indeed) command to our day. TIME OUT!
The first poem is another of Sister Maura Eichner’s – this one on Mary’s connection to refugees. In our day, this is more than apt. If it prompts you to prayer and compassionate advocacy, you might find it a good to check out the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website on migration and refugee services for further info and action possibilities. National Migration Week begins this Sunday (fittingly) with Epiphany and runs January 5th-11th. http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-and-refugee-services/
Our Lady of the Refugees
Mother who knew
what hardship shakes
a woman bundling clothes
and putting by her wheaten cakes;
Mother who urged the donkey
(making happy riot
on the struggling stones)
urged the beast to be more quiet;
Mother who heard the Child
whimper beneath the thin blue shawl,
our aching prayer cries out to you,
Mother, pray for them all.
A thousand Bethlehems
mask dark tonight,
the lamps of friendly homes
have lost their light;
pathetic heaps of poor and homely things
are laid aside;
a small bird sang where a latched door swings.
Mother whose sad Egyptian flight
preceded all of these,
guide them in faith beneath familiar stars,
Our Lady of the Refugees.
Sister Maura Eichner, SSND
This second piece is poetry-hymnody. The writer, Frederick (Fred) Kaan, was a United Reformed Church minister, a pacifist, a worker for peace and justice and, in his day, quite active with the World Council of Missions, along with his prolific hymn writing. He reflects on the Magnificat, and bids us enter Mary’s work for justice.
Sing we a song of high revolt;
Make great the Lord, God’s name exalt:
Sing we the words of Mary’s song
Of God at war with human wrong.
Sing we of God who deeply cares
And still with us our burden shares;
God, who with strength the proud disowns,
Brings down the mighty from their thrones.
By God the poor are lifted up;
God satisfies with bread and cup
The hungry folk of many lands:
The rich are left with empty hands.
God calls us to revolt and fight,
To seek for what is just and right.
To sing and live Magnificat
To ease all people’s sorry lot.