Tag Archives: prayer

Peace in the valley

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The wall

Located in the valley of a desert, Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora is a place where hardships are suffered but the light of God shines. It is a land of harsh heat during the days and cool, brisk nights. The sun is ablaze at high noon and the stars shine bright during the stillness of night.

I have witnessed first hand from migrants the difficult journey that they have embarked on. I have shed tears with them, I have laughed with them, I have prayed with them. I have walked along a portion of where they walk in order to cross the border. I see their faith lift up not only their own spirits but their brothers and sisters around them. I do not think I have ever witnessed God’s wondrous works in such a way that I have witnessed in this border town.

On a long drive back to our house tonight, I couldn’t help but reflect on my life. From as far back as I can remember to the present, the amount of blessings and opportunities I have been given is humbling. The support of my parents and family is unreal. I would not be the person I am today with out my friends, neighbors, classmates, teachers, and family. I want to thank all of you who read my blogs and for the comments and prayers. I really do appreciate the support especially on this part of my journey.

Sitting here, looking up to the stars shining bright on this suffering earth I feel hopeful that one day this world, this country, this Nogales will be a better and safer land. Many people we have interviewed talk about the youth of the world. I can see what they mean by how the youth of this world are our hope. Looking into the eyes of my fellow classmates and others that I come across, I see the hope, the vision, and the will to make our world better. My hope is to tear down barriers of race, gender, religions, and countries. The wall that stands no more than 5 miles from where I am right now is a symbol of a corrupt, divided human race.

Even in the shadows of the mountains around, God is here in the people of Nogales. You can see it in theirs smiles, their eyes, and their attitude towards life. People here do not have that much but what they do have is God and for many, that is what sustains them. The migrants especially have this sense of strength and hope that radiates off of them. It amazes me how strong in faith they are even in life’s toughest situations. They still believe and trust in God.

Cross painted by migrant
Cross painted by migrant

My prayer is for these migrants who risk all they have to try and live a better life. For the world and all of its cuts and wounds that bleed and blister. For an end to all divisions and divides that cast shadows on the earth. And for the strength and courage that I see in the people of Nogales and the migrants who pass through it.  Amen.

Blessed to be a witness

We’ve come to the end of the formal Backpack Journalism class — the five weeks of class, travel in Uganda and working on the film, blogs and other writing is nearly over. We had a last toast at the now-traditional Cali Taco wrap-up lunch. (thanks, Sara, for suggesting we do that again.)

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I am so lucky to have this experience with these colleagues and students. John, Tim and I realize what a terrific teaching/learning experience it is for us.

I’m adding a prayer that seems meant for journalists and especially backpack journalists. I first came upon it in my Jesuit seminar this year and it’s adapted by John Veltri, S.J.

Jason, Heidi, Teresa and Joe get a thumbs-up from a group of children. (Photo by Alison Prater)

Teach me to listen, O God, to those nearest me, my family, my friends, my co-workers. Help me to be aware that no matter what words I hear, the message is: “Accept the person I am. Listen to me.”

Teach me to listen, my caring God, to those far from me — the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten, the cry of the anguished.

Teach me to listen, O God my Mother, to myself. Help me to be less afraid to trust the voice inside in the deepest part of me.

Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice — in busyness and in boredom, in certainty and in doubt, in noise and in silence.

Teach me, Lord, to listen. Amen.