Vocation Blog

Story:  In his book Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson tells of being exhausted after spending a long day in court waiting for some paperwork to be filed.  He had just won the release of two men who had been on death row for years.  An older black woman sat on the marble steps of the courthouse.  She looked tired and wore what he calls a “church meeting hat.”  He had seen her often in that courtroom and, in fact, recognized her from being in that courtroom each time he came to New Orleans. 

 

He must have been staring at her because she saw him and waived him over.  When he walked over to her she smiled and said, “I’m tired and I’m not going to get up, so you’re going to have to lean over for me to give you a hug.”  He smiled back at her as she wrapped her arms around his neck. 

 

Bryan asked about whether she was related to one of his clients, but she said no.  She went on to say that she came to that courtroom years ago when her grandson was killed.  “My sixteen-year-old grandson was murdered fifteen years ago.”  She said, “I loved that boy more than life itself.”

 

She grieved and grieved and came to the courtroom for the first time for the trials of the two boys who were eventually found guilty of killing her grandson and who the judge sentenced to “forever” in prison.   

 

She continued, “I sat in the courtroom after they were sentenced and just cried and cried. A lady came over to me and gave me a hug and let me lean on her. She asked me if the boys who got sentenced were my children, and I told her no. I told her the boy they killed was my child.” She hesitated. “I think she sat with me for almost two hours. For well over an hour, we didn’t neither one of us say a word. It felt good to finally have someone to lean on at that trial, and I’ve never forgotten that woman. I don’t know who she was, but she made a difference.”

 

 “I’m so sorry about your grandson,” he murmured. It was all he could think of to say.

 

“Well, you never fully recover, but you carry on, you carry on. I didn’t know what to do with myself after those trials, so about a year later I started coming down here. I don’t really know why. I guess I just felt like maybe I could be someone, you know, that somebody hurting could lean on.”  She wrapped her arm around his. 

 

“When I first came, I’d look for people who had lost someone to murder or some violent crime. Then it got to the point where some of the ones grieving the most were the ones whose children or parents were on trial, so I just started letting anybody lean on me who needed it. All these young children being sent to prison forever, all this grief and violence. Those judges throwing people away like they’re not even human, people shooting each other, hurting each other like they don’t care. I don’t know, it’s a lot of pain. I decided that I was supposed to be here to catch some of the stones people cast at each other.”

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For more more topics ckick below for:

Reflection

Scripture Passages to Reflect On This Week

Lenten practices for this week

This Week’s Daily Prayer

This Week’s Point:  To make our Lenten journey fruitful, we must recognize and acknowledge the pain in our lives.

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Fr. Dave Kelly is a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and has worked with Kolbe House Jail Ministry for the past 30 years.  He is, also, director of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a restorative justice hub on the south side of Chicago.

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For more information about Kolbe House, visit www.kolbehouseministry.or

 

Reflection:  In Sunday’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus is led into the desert where he, like woman in the story above, experiences encounters a call to step out of his comfort into the mission the Father has set before him.  Like the woman, he is called to be a stone catcher.

 

Our Lenten journey has to be personal.  This is an intimate journey in which we reflect upon who we are as Christians.  What does it mean to journey through lent – from the desert to the cross to the resurrection? 

 

We cannot deny the struggles and hardships; they are a part of who we are and have to be a part of this journey.  But we are not alone; we know that somehow the pain becomes less as we embrace the Christ who, too, suffers. 

 

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Scripture Passages to Reflect On This Week

Isaiah 60:1-7

Isaiah 61:1-3

Matthew 7: 7-11

Luke 15:11-32

 

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Lenten practices for this week:

  • Sit in silence. Spend 15 minutes  in contemplative prayer.  Listen to the presence of God.  Empty yourself of distractions and thoughts so that you can experience God’s presence.
  • Speak the pain that is a part of your life.  Allow that pain to be heard – even if it is heard by you alone.  God is present. 
  • Write a prayer….Make it yours.
  • Seek to repair a relationship that has been strained. 
  • Spend some time reading Just Mercy.  Write in your journal for 15 minutes about how your feel about what you’ve read..  What did you read that you strongly agree with?  What did you read that you strongly disagree with?  Write  down whatever comes into your mind.   Don’t worry about spelling or grammar.  Keep your hand moving.  This writing is for your eyes only.  You will not be asked to share it with or show it to anyone.  Write legibly because you will be asked to read your journal as a Lenten practice for Holy Week.

 

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This Week’s Daily Prayer

 

Pope Francis’s Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved.

 

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”  

 

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

 

You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

 

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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This Week’s Point:  To make our Lenten journey fruitful, we must recognize and acknowledge the pain in our lives.

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Fr. Dave Kelly is a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and has worked with Kolbe House Jail Ministry for the past 30 years.  He is, also, director of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a restorative justice hub on the south side of Chicago.

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For more information about Kolbe House, visit www.kolbehouseministry.org

 

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FR. TIMOTHY MONAHAN

 

 

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