News & Events
Beauty and Joy
Posted in News
By: Deepa Sebastian, Birmingham, AL.
On July 4th, my children (Nicky (18), Rosie (15) and I travelled to Jamaica to work with the Missionaries of the Poor. In early May as we were waiting a word from Fr. Henry regarding our volunteer application, my prayer was that if it was God’s will for us to go to Jamaica, then let it be done. Little did we know what a blessing the Lord had in store for us during the week we spent with the MOP.
We stayed in Jesus the Redeemer monastery and quickly settled into what I call “the routine of the bells”. What a blessing it was to order our day, beginning always with prayer, then fellowship at breakfast, followed by work at the centers, then return to the monastery for prayer and fellowship. What quickly became clear to us was that everything that the Brothers did were centered in prayer, praise and worship to God. It was obvious from the start that the work of the MOP will be impossible without Christ. In fact, as one of the Brothers related, it is His love that fills and animates them in the joyful service they provide to the poor.
My children and I agree that the highlight of our trip was meeting all of the wonderful Brothers, all were exceptional in different ways. I will relate some of the enduring lessons we learned from them. At one center, Brother Moses explained to my children that when they serve the poor they need to think of it as if they were serving their mother and father. Another Brother spoke about how all the Brothers had left their homes and families in various countries to join the MOP had found a family of their own, sharing various cuisines, a love of sports, etc. I don’t think I could have explained any better to my children that we are not just Americans, but that we are part of a global family, united in the love of Christ, with a responsibility to care for and share with each
other. We listened as a Brother related what a gift the poor are to us. Our society teaches us that poverty is failure. Yet, Christ who came in poverty, and His Church teach that “the spirit of poverty and charity is the glory and witness of the Church of Christ.” It wasn’t until we came to Jamaica that we were able to witness the truth of this teaching. I learned that we should not pity the poor, but instead cherish them, and show them the mercy, compassion and love that Christ showed to us.
We met so many wonderful men and women at the centers, many of whom had a kind word for us, and we were overwhelmed by their graciousness. Our trip culminated in the beautiful Sunday mass at Bethlehem chapel. As I sat next to 2 children, I reflected on the week we’d spent in Jamaica. I watched as the children participated in the service and my heart was filled as I watched them joyfully singing and dancing the “Roll Over the Ocean”. Two words struck me then: beauty and joy. God loves Jamaica that is clear from the presence of the beauty and joy of its people. God loves Jamaica abundantly, and that is clear from the presence of the Brothers in their midst. God has sent His faithful servants to minister to them. So thank you Brothers, for your joy and your service, and the many invaluable lessons you have shared with us. God bless and strengthen you in your vocation, and may He lead many more Brothers and Sisters to His service in the MOP.