12/14/2017, 17.14
INDIA
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Missionary of Mother Teresa hopes that Christmas will bring the joy of God’s presence even in times of martyrdom

by Yesudas*

He calls for putting Pope Francis's call into practice, namely "Let us love, not with words but with deeds". The example is that of the four nuns killed by extremists in Aden, Yemen. Speaking about one of the nuns, he writes that she had “faith and trust that God's love is stronger than all the aggressive powers of the world and it transformed her from victim of darkness into a daughter of light.”

Kolkata (AsiaNews) – Brother Yesudas, a missionary of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata), has written a Christmas letter for all his friends. In it he hopes that Christmas may bring the joy of God’s presence even in times of martyrdom.

In the letter, which we present in full, he cites the examples of faith in the Lord of the four nuns murdered in 2016 in Aden, Yemen, by people thought to be linked to al Qaeda.

He quotes from a letter written by one of the nuns two months before she was killed in which she entrusts herself to Jesus, and addresses only one request: “And if Lord, it is your will that we come to you through this war, please don't let us or me come to you without you. " Here is the letter.

Dear friends,

First world day of the poor on 19th November 2017, I was sitting in Queen Alia airport at Amman waiting for my flight back to Kolkata. I was exhausted after 18 days of very hectic programme in Jordan. But the message of pope Francis was hunting me from the morning, “Let us love, not with words but with, deeds". I have had a few glimpses of God’s deeds of love, joy and compassion. It is a secret I came to know in Karuna Bhavan, and more deeply my days in Jordan. It is the secret of God’s deeds, His presence among us and I believe Christmas is not a celebration of words but God’s deed in us and with us. A marvellous presence of God made present forever. The Joy of this presence is what I want to wish you all for Christmas and for the New Year.

As I sat in Queen Alia airport undisturbed, I took a few deep breaths and consciously pushed out all thought and tension from my mind. Then I contemplated the faces of the MC Sisters, who came for the programme in Jordan from the war-torn countries of the middle-east - Gaza, Iraq, Damascus and Aleppo in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Those faces were not the passive victims of exterior circumstances but those faces were filled with joy and laughter. I was moved by the palpable joy in the faces of each sister.

I asked myself what is the secret of their joy in the midst of the terrifying and scaring situations? I was also surprised to see, the coal, calm and re-collective presence of Sister Sally MC the only survivor of Aden massacre in Yemen by Islamic Militants. Sr. Sally has witnessed the flow of blood of 4 sisters of her community and 12 helpers of the home for the poorest and seen the lifeless bodies of all. As I listened to her I could feel, she holds on to that pain in great faith and surrender and confesses that "God is with us” and our Lady covered me so that they could not see me even though they came to the room three times where I stood behind the door. I could see them but they could not see me.

Sr. Sally is a generous soul. She is free from any hatred or bitterness toward those Islamic Militants who ravaged her community and murdered her sisters and helpers. She said to me- “I stood behind the door and prayed for them. They are people like us, they need our prayer, and they deserve our forgiveness and compassion”.

What really make these sisters who live in the midst of hostility, hatred, heavy bombing and shooting, breaking their house windows and other destruction in the house joyful? It is a mystery. Their joy does not come from their optimism of - the war will be over, our wounds will be healed; the fear will go away, the suffering will come to an end. Their joy does not come from positive prediction of their situation. Their joy comes from their hope that allows them to live in the present with deep trust that God will never leave them alone but will fulfil the deepest desires of their heart. Their joy and hope are never separate. It is rooted in their intimate relationship with Jesus. Their joy in God's presence even when their many wishes are not realized.

I happen to read a letter written by one of the sisters two months before she was shoot dead in Aden by the Islamic Militants. She writes the following: "I surrendered my life to God and from that moment, I was just ready to die at any time. Then and then fear left me; and felt my faith in him being increased, and strengthened. Then in these words I spoke to him without fear: Jesus I know nothing happens in life without your knowledge. You give life and strength to both who do evil of war and those who do good and believe in you. Now we are in the midst of this evil war, and in the nation which does not believe in you as the Son of God; but as a prophet. I believe that there is no evil power is above your mighty power. I claim your most precious Blood upon this nation and all those who do not believe in you as the Son of God. I beg your powerful protection of your most precious Blood over us, and all our poor people here; and your maternal protection of your most Holy Mother and our mother. And if Lord, it is your will that we come to you through this war, please don't let us or me come to you without you. I don't want to be separated from you. Remove completely fears in each one of my sisters and protect us with your power and fill us with your peace and Holy Spirit".

Her faith and trust that God's love is stronger than all the aggressive powers of the world and it transformed her from victim of darkness into a daughter of light. So she continued to be with the poorest of the poor and served them to the end. Love is not with words but deeds.

Our life here in Karuna Bhavan is a struggle yet there is joy in the midst of the struggles. Brothers live with the people who seek attention by creating drama, playing victim and complaining constantly to get love and sympathy. Some become so aggressive, some live in fear and never say anything verbally and they vibrate the deep dark shadow of their life to us. What really makes us to be in their midst is our faith. We believe we are called to become aware of the distress and feel our own inadequacy that only God can overcome this distress of our people here. We can only offer the presence of Jesus Christ by the way we are with this suffering people who are with us.

We know we need to allow God to move in and through us. On Christmas God comes to us empty-handed but full of love to make His movement in us. Let your Christmas celebration fill you with the beauty of Divine movement so that coming New Year you may be able to relate to others God’s movement and fill others and your life with Joy.

* Missionary of Charity living in Karuna Bhavan (peace sanctuary), Kolkata

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