|“…the beggar stretches out his hand not to ask but to give you the Kingdom of heaven and yet you do not see…” Elder Arsenie (photo: JRS malta)|
The Government forbids our refugee friends to work and from that point of view their financial contribution is minimal. Spiritually, however, their contribution is immense. During my time in Wapping I have met some of the most remarkable, kind and loving human beings I have ever encountered and it has been my privilege and joy to serve them and to accept their immense giftedness. That this has become clear to me is largely due to the Ignatian ethos of the JRS which encourages the volunteers to simply ‘be’ with the person in front of them, seeing them as neither a problem nor a cause but a Brother and Sister in Christ; a human being who, like all humanity, reflects something of the wonder of God. I have now left London and am living in a very different setting in Northumbria but I can safely say that I will take from my experience in JRS some truly wonderful lessons. I will take all that our friends have given me and I will also carry with me the example set by those who work ‘full time’ with JRS – both volunteers and staff.
I looked at the person opposite me; the person who had been tortured; deprived of their basic human dignity not only by the regime they were fleeing but our own Government and I saw Christ in them and in seeing him I saw the Kingdom of Heaven.