Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Schools have been back for several weeks now and last week was Fresher’s Week at a number of Universities. Pray for the students as they start on their new adventure. Pray, too for the Empty Nesters who are getting used to the silence at home. But, pray also for those who do not have access even to basic education in some parts of the world.
Addressing the question of migration from Africa into Europe the heads of the Jesuit Provinces in Germany, Austria and Africa were among the many signatories to a letter to the E U Heads of State meeting in Salzburg recently, entitled "Flows of migrants, flows of money". It was a petition for justice. Here is an extract: “Currently there is more money leaving Africa in illicit financial flows through aggressive tax evasion and money laundering, than is entering Africa in combined developmental aid and foreign direct investment. If Europe would support African governments in curbing those outflows, African states could secure much more funds for investing in infrastructure, education, and healthcare. This would, in the long run, keep Africans in Africa and ultimately curb illegal migration,” This situation is not restricted to Europe/Africa. It can be found in other parts of the world, too.
So what is our reaction? This is too big for me to solve, They must do something. Ah, yes Them, again! It’s always someone else’s problem! Here is an extract from something written by John Donne in 1624. It is just as true today as when it was first written.
'No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontory were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee....' The world may have shrunk since Donne’s time so that one might now substitute ‘the world’ for ‘the Continent’, but the point is that he places emphasis on our personal responsibility; the bell tolls for thee. Let us then, do what we can, in whatever way we can, whether it be supporting health and education charities overseas or lobbying our law-makers to take positive steps to work with, and to help, war torn and less well off countries rather than shutting off aid and building walls. That may place us at odds with some people, indeed the cost of discipleship can feel harsh at times, but Jesus’ words and loving presence remind us why the price is worth every penny.
Each of us is called to do something, NOW. Education is not just the right of the privileged few in the comfortably rich First World, it is essential for the growth to maturity of all the underdeveloped countries of the Third World.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years