Day 29 | A Tangible Faith
BY PEDRO GUERRERO | April 3, 2019
How often do we find ourselves turning to God to ask for something? I’ll be frank—I do it quite often. I find myself turning to God whenever I need something, feel scared, or in moments of general vulnerability. My gratitude could use some work. However, whenever I find myself in these moments of weakness, God is always there to welcome me, despite my communicative shortcomings. The desire to encounter and learn from people who have mastered the art of communication with God is a welcomed experience.
You can imagine my surprise when I met an incredible 4 foot 8 woman from Guatemala who stopped me dead in my tracks. In early July 2018, I found myself in a drafty, sterile, air-conditioned room at a family detention center in Dilley, Texas. Cruel family separation policies were in full effect. I helped mothers and children prepare for their asylum interviews as they relived the traumas of their escapes from their home countries and entrances into the United States. They survived domestic assault, gang violence, and a general uncertainty if they or their children would live to see another day. I would listen to these women’s “come-to” moments as they decided, once-and-for-all, that they would flee.
My client described hers, saying, “As I lay on the floor with blood running down my face, looking up at the ceiling after being beaten by my husband, I looked up at my tin roof, and gave thanks to God for the roof over my head.” The deafening silence was eventually broken with tears and sobs from my client and myself. This woman understood what it was to keep an open line of communication with God, and how to use God’s guidance to bring her and her daughter to a renewed life.
“I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.”
John 5: 27-30
Being broken and being irreparable are not mutually exclusive. We have so much to learn from those who suffer. Their ability to maintain a relationship with God in their strongest and weakest moments make their faith almost tangible.
Pedro Guerrero is a native of Lima, Peru. His family and he immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s in the wake of ongoing internal conflict in his home country. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, Pedro has worked as a congressional intern, as a graduate assistant at Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center, and as the only green card-holding immigrant in the Missouri legislature, holding the position of legislator assistant for Representative, and now-Senator, Lauren Arthur of Kansas City, Missouri. He now serves as assistant director of alumni relations for Loyola University Chicago.
Thank you, Pedro, for sharing this challenging testimony. Another stunning contribution to this Lenten series. Thank you for your commitment to the Ignatian mission.
God is great and a big time winner.
Your opening lines really hit home because I’m the same way and have been wondering about my communication habits. Thanks for affirming I’m not the only one asking a lot. Now I have to remember to give a lot.
I’m curious about the woman in your story. She has to leave her country due to spousal abuse? Are there no protections down there for her like here? Thanks!
Unfortunately, like many other of my clients, this client’s spousal abuse was tied to gang-related activity in her community, to the point that her life and the life of her daughter were threatened, causing them to flee.
Thank you for the reply. I know that there are back stories to why these people are trying to come to our country, so it’s helpful and interesting to hear this perspective from you. I wish we could read more about these back stories from the mainstream press. It might open the eyes of more Americans and get them to become more welcoming. And thanks too for your comments about asking God for so much help. Your personal story helped me in affirming I’m not alone. Tom
Thak you for the message you bring
Mil gracias por esta reflexión. La voy a usar con mis estudiatntes hoy. Todos nos podemos reparar con la fuerza de Dios y María.
I am so proud to be your mom. Te amo hijo.?
I was also struck by her ability to still be grateful in the face of such a horror.