From Today’s First Reading:
“Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper.”
As we walk alongside John today, where do we hear the Lord’s voice in his words?
After being held at The Verne detention centre for around 3 weeks John was transferred to Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow.
“I was so sacred – Colnbrook is near Heathrow airport, so I knew I must be being booked onto a deportation flight. I asked the officers, and they would say, ‘no, you just have an appointment, it’s just a meeting.’”
When John arrived at Colnbrook, his worst fears were realised. He was presented for the first time with another refusal letter for his application for leave to remain, which was dated at least a week earlier, and a ticket for a flight. John was confused, angry and upset. There was no opportunity, or time, to appeal.
Once again, his health quickly deteriorated and he collapsed. He awoke a while later in the medical ward of Colnbrook detention centre where he remained for a further five weeks before he was released.
“Detention still affects me. Hearing the word, or seeing documentaries on telly about it – it disturbs my health. If I’m around people, I can control my emotions, I’ve learnt to control my emotions. But if I’m alone, I can cry, I feel the stress seriously.”
An Invitation to Prayer
We invite you to take some time with John’s journey and today’s readings, and join Sr. Linda, a volunteer with the JRS Detention Outreach team, in prayer and reflection.
The moment I chose to accompany people in detention, these precious words from Jeremiah find their way to me, and slowly began to root into the core of my heart. I find these words reflected in my encounters with those who are detained.
I am struck when John said: “Detention still affects me. Hearing the word, or seeing documentaries on telly about it – it disturbs my health. If I’m alone, I can cry….” As I listen to his words of pain, I can also see John is a man of strength and faith.
The more I listen to what he says the more it challenges me to recognise God’s inner voice there, calling me on. He is the one who leads and guides me to unknown situations. Walking with someone in detention who is suffering involves this leap of trust for me. But as I listen to God’s voice speaking through John my trust, compassion and hope deepens. When this happens, the right moment comes when I am able to say to myself, ‘all shall be well.’
Sr. Linda Maog MMS
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