Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
  • Golden calf on Wall Street
  • Sri Lanka children - Jim Stipe
  • Seedbag
  • corn bags
  • Altar in Palestine - R Rodrick Beiler

Prayer for Encounters with Strangers

The following prayer was written by Dr. Ann Carr of the Maryknoll Affiliates for “Exploring Migration” JustFaith Ministries’ in-depth course that invites Christians to study, prayer, and action in a small group setting. This eight-session module provides participants a chance to find common ground and to discover more about themselves, their values, our God, and the millions of people who are on the move in every part of the world. Learn more about this program and how to register at https://justfaith.org/ .The prayer was also published in the November-December 2017 issue of NewsNotes and in the 2017 Advent Reflection Guide

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35) In earlier times, perhaps we found it easier.

The brokenness of our modern world has released an unending tide of humans in migration. By land and by sea they come, from Sudan, Syria, through treacherous waters to Lampedusa, across parched deserts to the Mexican border.

From the rubble of Aleppo a seven-year-old girl tweets, “Can we build a country called Republic of Refugees? It will be the most peaceful country in the world.” Our brother Francis implores us to open our hearts wide to God and says:

RESPONSE: “Every stranger who knocks on our door brings an opportunity for encounter with Jesus.”

How to understand? How to welcome, when this migration touches our own exile? We the receivers; they the strangers. Their lives disrupted and now ours disrupted. But you, O God, call us to be a Eucharistic community in which all are WE and none are strangers.

From the rubble of Aleppo a seven-year-old girl tweets, “I take a mission to save as many lives as I can. It’s my duty.

RESPONSE: “Every stranger who knocks on our door brings an opportunity for encounter with Jesus.”

The numbing of UN statistics: 65.6 million persons in the world today are displaced. O God, we cannot hold all of this. And how can we see so many as our brothers and sisters when cultures rub against cultures, communities transform overnight and fears constrict our hearts? Can we see the woman in her hijab as Mary fleeing with Joseph into the land of Egypt? “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

From the rubble of Aleppo a seven-year-old girl tweets, “Dear world, can we stop killing each other and instead love each other? YES WE CAN.”

RESPONSE: “Every stranger who knocks on our door brings an opportunity for encounter with Jesus.”

Help us to remember, O God, that you call us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Touch our hearts with courage as you have provided our brothers and sisters in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia and Uganda who have opened their doors widely to your searching and migrating people.

From the rubble of Aleppo a seven-year-old girl tweets, “Dear children, Never lose hope. You are future of this world, we suffer now but we shall overcome.” 

RESPONSE: “Every stranger who knocks on our door brings an opportunity for encounter with Jesus.”