From Today’s First Reading:
“He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O King.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’”
Daniel 3:14-20, 24-25, 28
As we accompany Christian this week, where do we sense the Lord’s presence as he faces the fire?
Currently in the UK there is no time limit on detention and an individual can be detained multiple times. When the periods of detention are taken together, Christian spent well over year in detention.
“Detention is a very, very dangerous place.
“You don’t know your roommate; you don’t know who you are sleeping with. So you don’t sleep.
“You are always scared, always in a state of panic that they [the Home Office] will deport you. I didn’t want to go through that again. My country is not safe for me – but they didn’t understand this. They just kept sending me letters. Always letters and faxes. I didn’t understand what they said.”
Like many of our refugee friends, the added trauma of detention has had a lasting impact on Christian’s health and wellbeing.
“It destroys your spirit. It’s like daily stress and constant anxiety. Every day in detention you are panicking. You are stressed. I had to have my blood pressure checked every two days because it was so high. I was so scared.”
An Invitation to Prayer and Reflection
Many of those who JRS UK accompany in detention, like Christian, were suddenly removed from their friends and family. The experience of being ripped from the lives they had known is devastating, and with no time limit on how long an individual can then be held in detention, it is an anxious and isolating experience.
Throughout Lent, we’re inviting you to make an extra effort to take simple actions to show refugees and people seeking asylum understanding and compassion.
Act: When visiting detention we are often asked to remember those we accompany in our prayers. We invite you to accompany the men we support in detention through our monthly prayer resource. We ask you to hold their names in your personal and community prayers and help us to break down this feeling of isolation.
Act: For many years JRS UK and many other organisations have called for an end to indefinite detention. Add your voice to the Catholic Church’s call for the introduction of a time limit on detention.
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