GERMANY, From Maria Fischer •
I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me (Mt 25:35-36).
These words of Jesus answer the question that arises so often in our minds and hearts: “Where is God?” Where is God, if evil is present in our world, if there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles and refugees? Where is God, when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism and war? Where is God, when cruel diseases break the bonds of life and affection? Or when children are exploited and demeaned, and they too suffer from grave illness? Where is God, amid the anguish of those who doubt and are troubled in spirit? These are questions that humanly speaking have no answer. We can only look to Jesus and ask him. And Jesus’ answer is this: “God is in them”. Jesus is in them; he suffers in them and deeply identifies with each of them. He is so closely united to them as to form with them, as it were, “one body”.”
Those were the words of Pope Francis a few days ago during the World Youth Day in Cracow; perhaps some of his most challenging and courageous words when he answered Jesus’ question with a question: What did you do for me?
The German Bishops’ Conference has now taken up a lovely initiative as part of their work on the subject of refugees and migrants. It gives everyone – each individual Christian, all parishes, all shrines – an opportunity to answer this question with: “I prayed for the victims fleeing war and persecution.”
The German Bishops’ Conference has published a prayer card with a prayer of Pope Francis for the victims fleeing war and persecution, which he prayed on 16 April 2016 on the Greek island of Lesbos. In this prayer he said, among other things, “Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals, to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.” The text is illustrated with a photo of an empty wooden boat near discarded life jackets on the seashore.
A prayer card with this prayer in all shrines of the world, in all languages… It could make a difference.
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK