Life and our faith are filled with mystery and seeming contradictions. One of these mysteries involves God transforming brokenness and sin into inner strength.
Moses is an archetype of this. The great hero of the Israelites and leader of the Exodus was a broken man. He witnessed the abuse of a Hebrew man by an Egyptian, the enslaving group, and opted to kill the Egyptian. Discovered, he fled into a foreign land. While tending sheep, God revealed God’s self in the mystery of the Burning Bush and missioned Moses as leader in the liberation of the enslaved Israelites. God appears to have included his sin and his violence in seeking justice, as well as his zeal, to re-form and re-purpose him.
Moses put up excuses and resisted the call but God persevered and Moses accepted. He trusted and learned on the new, difficult journey, serving as God’s instrument for liberation.
A student from Spring Hill College participating in our border immersion, Encuentro Project, shared her experience of serving asylum-seeking families at Loreto-Nazaret shelter, and wisely commented: “It’s perplexing that in the midst of so much suffering, one experiences so much compassion and generosity—a mystery! The broken, resilient refugees in our midst might become a source of strength for our nation.”
In my youth, I longed for the elimination of my wounds and brokenness—to thus be strong. Life made me realize that those transformed wounds, mysteriously, through God’s Grace, became strengths for me. Don’t we all have similar experiences?
It’s wise to admit one’s brokenness and God’s transforming love in one’s life. We can hopefully look back at life with great gratitude. It worked for Moses, Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan Woman, Peter, Paul, Ignatius, and so many great ones.
In January 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued new policy guidance, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which asylum seekers are sent back to Mexico to wait throughout the duration of their immigration court proceedings in the U.S., which could take months in which people are living in dangerous and inadequate conditions. This policy was extended in the last week to the El Paso region where Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J., the author of this reflection, serves the migrant community. Use your voice today to ask DHS to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy and uphold the dignity of all those who migrate. Learn more here.
Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J., from the UCS Province entered the Jesuits in 1983 and was ordained in 1993. He was born in La Habana, Cuba and grew up and studied in Miami, where he practiced as an architect until he felt the call to be a priest. As a Jesuit he has served in parishes as pastor at Sacred Heart, El Paso for, for 13 years; Immaculate Conception, Albuquerque, for 5 ½ years and St. Francis Xavier, Kansas City, for 2 ½ years. He currently resides in El Paso, assisting at Sacred Heart, a Jesuit parish, engaging in ministry with migrant and refugee persons, including at immigration detention centers, and as director of the Encuentro Project.
El P. Rafael García S.J., miembro de la Provincia del Centro y del Sur de los jesuitas, entró al noviciado en 1983 y fue ordenado en 1993. Nació en La Habana, Cuba, y creció y estudió en Miami, donde ejerció como arquitecto antes de sentir el llamado al sacerdocio. Ha sido párroco en la Parroquia Sagrado Corazón de El Paso TX por 13 años; en la Parroquia Inmaculada Concepción de Alburquerque NM por cinco años y medio; y en la Parroquia San Francisco Javier de Kansas City por dos años y medio. Actualmente reside ayudando en El Paso, donde ayuda en la parroquia Sagrado Corazón. Trabaja con migrantes y refugiados en centros de detención y también es director del “Proyecto Encuentro.”