Hands Up! Who Can’t Breathe?


Sometimes peace seems more distant than other times. We are nearing the completion of this week of peace. Today on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I hear the Mother say to Juan, “Only peace, my little son” as she sends him off on a mission. I have been discussing the signs of the times with some folks lately and drawing from the Jesuit idea of the Incarnation. On this Feast Day, I cannot help but make the link that Mary revealed herself then to the poor and outcast and she still does that now to the least of these. She reassured Juan that he was under her protection and should not be distressed.

In the contemplation of the Incarnation, the Holy Trinity looks down at the world and sees everything that is going on. They are filled with love, compassion and sorrow at the human experiences. Their eyes come to rest upon the young woman, Mary, as the angel Gabriel approaches her with their plan. Her yes is one of fidelity, joy and courage. She wants to serve with all her heart.

When Juan meets Our Lady, he sees love, compassion and joy within her now. That is what serving moves us to. She tells him perhaps something that Gabriel said to her: There are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen. There are many needed in our own world right now. Are you chosen?

The Trinity looks down through chronos and kairos and sees still that the world needs a Saviour. The world continues to be a place that is broken and hurting. My mind flits to the United States in the contemplation. I imagine the Trinity watching police officers yelling “Hands up!” and seeing a young man crumpling onto the ground as a dozen shots ring out. They see the black man in a choke hold by police, gasping, “I can’t breathe!” Right here in my own country, their eyes rest on a young First Nations girl left for dead by the river in my city, a girl perhaps not that much older than Mary was when Gabriel visited. Unlike so many other murdered and missing First Nations females, she survives and she has a message for the other Harper. She is the voice calling out in the wilderness. The leaders are not listening to the people. The world needs to put down our hands and clasp them together. We need to breathe in meditation.

Watching the families of the slain African-Americans speak out today on a popular talk show, I felt as if I could not breathe. A famous Black athlete was on the show and he commented that it was not a skin issue, but a sin issue. Powerful, insightful words! There is so much hatred in this world. In a couple of days we will celebrate the second anniversary of the shootings in Newtown. Not much change has happened since then. Why? Why do we continue, in this country, to lose our young First Nations women? When will it stop? Peace may seem elusive when we watch the news and try to piece together what is going on.

And so….I clasp my hands and breathe. I come back to that beautiful young woman, pregnant with a Saviour. She was part of a divine intervention. She was told by Gabriel not to be afraid. She would then tell Juan to not fear either. I have to believe that Love wins, that peace will come, and that God has this. I close my eyes and imagine the Trinity, looking down at us, and I wonder if they can breathe peace upon us. Can they squash the fears that haunt us? Will they look down and see at least one of us who will say yes to their ongoing plan? Come, Lord Jesus, come!



About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
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