Stations of the Cross: Lenten resource from Sr Mary O’Malley
By Eilis Coe
Download Walking with the Risen Christ New Creation Retreat.
As we continue our journey through the Easter Season, this audio retreat from the Jesuit congregation in the UK, helps us reflect on our relationship with the world around us.
Oh God, we didn’t see them. But you did, the hundreds and thousands of human beings Trafficked each year to join the millions who are trapped in modern-day slavery. Under terrible conditions, they work in factories, plough fields, harvest crops, work quarries, fill brothels, clean homes, and haul water.
Many are children with tiny fingers for weaving rugs and small shoulders for bearing rifles. Their labor is forced, their bodies beaten, their faces hidden from those who don’t really want to see them.
But you see them all, God of the poor. You hear their cry and you answer by opening our eyes, and breaking our hearts and loosening our tongues to insist:
No more. No more.
The men and women who prey on the poor and the innocent need to be arrested, prosecuted, and punished for their crimes. The International Justice Mission has found that even a small number of convictions can have a major impact in reducing trafficking crime. But prosecuting traffickers can be difficult because survivors are terrified to testify against them.
Dear Lord, You demand justice for those who have been wronged. Give strength to those who investigate and prosecute traffickers. Encourage them when they are weary. Give courage to survivors when they are asked to testify against their former captors.
Survivors of human trafficking often suffer severe psychological damage. Their hearts and spirits have been assaulted as much as their bodies. They are ashamed of what has happened to them.
Dear Lord, Your Word shows that You bring new joy and hope where previously there was only shame and fear. We ask this for our brothers and sisters, who desperately need to accept that they can be made new.
Children who are rescued from traffickers need a safe place to recover from abuse. It’s common for their former captors to try to recover what they regard as their “property.”
Dear Lord, You are a strong tower and a mighty fortress. Help Your rescued children feel safe and begin to heal. Protect them from those who seek to harm them.
Extreme poverty is at the root of the vast majority of trafficking around the world. Poor families are vulnerable to the tactics of traffickers, who lure their victims with the promise of well-paying jobs in other cities or countries. Once isolated from their families, victims are forced to work for little or no pay and brutalized if they try to resist. One of the best ways to prevent human trafficking is to help families become self-sufficient.
Dear Lord, most of us reading this email will never experience the kind of extreme poverty that millions of people live with every day. Help us to be understanding and compassionate toward their needs. Help us to love them in the way that You love them. Give us the will to make things better.