Papá… Abba… Father…
One of the greatest joys of my life is to hear my three-year-old daughter call me “papá” or dad. She says it with an inquisitive tone when she looks for me each morning after she wakes up and gets out of bed. I cherish the moments when her “papá” turns in to “papi” or daddy. When she really wants to get my attention she places an endearing emphasis on the “i” and calls me “papííí” or daddyyy. Her calling out for her “‘papá“ or her “papí” takes a different tone when she is upset. It certainly takes a different tone when she is in pain and in tears. I immediately thought of her on June 23rd, 2018 when I first heard the audio recording of children who had been separated from their mothers and fathers at the border between the United States and Mexico. One recording in particular is quite heartbreaking. You can listen to it by following this link: https://www.vox.com/2018/6/20/17482476/children-separated-at-border-audio. The recording was secretly made by a Texas civil rights attorney and it contains the voices of children who are crying after being separated from their parents at the border to which they had come to seek asylum as they fled from violence and hunger in Central America. The voice of a young girl from Guatemala can be heard as she cries saying “papá… papá… no quiero que separen a mi papá… no quiero que lo deporten…” which translates to “dad… dad… I don’t want them to separate my dad… I don’t want them to deport him.” When I heard this little girl crying out for her “papá,” I immediately thought of my own daughter. I also thought of the Spirit that dwells within us, through which we have been adopted as God’s children, and which gives us the power to cry “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:12-17). It is this same Spirit that comes to our aid in our weakness and that prays through us in the way our Father wants us to pray (Romans 8:26-28). This same Spirit comes to the aid of the thousands of children who have been separated from their parents at the border. This same Spirit prays prophetically through their voices as they cry out for “papá.”
This same Spirit currently leads you and me through this Lenten wilderness. It is through this Spirit that we can cry out “Abba, Father, Papá, Papííí, Daddyyy…” as we fast, pray, reflect, and serve. May this Spirit which comes to the aid of those most vulnerable also come to reaffirm our identity as God’s daughters and sons. May this same Spirit come to our aid. May She pray through us for justice to be done on behalf of those whom Jesus calls the least of these his sisters and brothers.
Prayer Focus: Families that have been separated at the border between Mexico and the United States.
Thought for the Day: The Spirit of God prays through us as well as through those around us, specially when we are in desperate need.
Let Us Pray: Our Father in heaven, you have given us your Spirit to dwell within us. It is because of your Spirit that we can cry out before you and say “Papííí.” Allow for your Spirit to pray through us when our words are not enough. Allow for your Spirit to pray through us when the pain is so deep that our tears hold back our words. Allow for your Spirit to pray through us interceding on behalf of the families that have been and that continue to be separated at the border. Allow for your Spirit to come to their aid. We pray in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.