Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reflection on Haiti’s suffering

By Sr. Carolyn Law

Two weeks have passed since the heart wrenching earthquake which devastated much of Haiti. The news is beginning to fade yet efforts to attend the wounded, the homeless, the grieving continue. Emergency aid continues to be needed for the near future. Then the important long term work of rebuilding will need to be sustained.

Bill Moyers essay on Haiti aired January 22, 2010 on his PBS program is worth watching and can be accessed at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01222010/profile3.html. In his essay, he points out the callous idiocy of TV evangelist Pat Roberson assessment that this earthquake happened because Haiti had supposedly sold its soul to the devil in order to overthrow the French colonizers. The French had run Haiti as a slave colony to produce coffee, sugar and tobacco for Europeans. When the slaves revolted and drove out the French, Thomas Jefferson, U.S. president and author of the declaration of independence, refused to recognize the government of Haiti.

Moyers also criticizes the honorable David Brooks, political pundit of the New York Times, for assessing the Haitian nation as “progress resistant” among other disparaging remarks. Moyers then goes on to more accurately relate the history of exploitation and oppression by outside and inside forces in this small nation, the poorest in the hemisphere.

The theology that poverty, sickness, or misfortune is a punishment for one’s sin is a mistaken one. In contrast, the theology of liberation which sprung from reading the Gospel through the eyes of the poor preaches a theology of compassion on the part of God. God is the one who hears the cry of the poor and acts to right injustices, inequality and suffering.

In the daily prayer of the Church, we pray the hymn of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, because it is an accurate and poetic summary of the message and mission of Jesus, the Christ. This hymn of praise is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1. It seems right to pray it now in the midst of the many crises in our country—the disorder in our banks and economy, the fight over healthcare, the vitriolic hyperbole of an election year. Place yourself in the shoes of someone who is poor or beaten down as you savor the message of Mary’s prayer.

My being proclaims your greatness,
And my spirit finds joy in you, God my Savior.
For you have looked upon me, your servant, in my lowliness;
All ages to come shall call me blessed.
God, you who are mighty, have done great things for me.
Holy is your name.
Your mercy is from age to age toward those who fear you.
You have shown might with your arm
And confused the proud in their inmost thoughts.
You have deposed the mighty from their thrones
And raised the lowly to high places.
The hungry you have given every good thing
While the rich you have sent away empty.
You have upheld Israel your servant, ever mindful of your mercy
Even as you promised our ancestors;
Promised Abraham, Sarah, and their descendents forever.
(Translation Psalms Anew)


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