Friday, July 21, 2017

Lectio Divina - Victims of Human Trafficking

July 30th is the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.  The Congregational JPIC Office has created the prayer resource below to enter into prayer and reflection with those who suffer under the chains of modern day slavery: human trafficking.


Lectio Divina - Victims of Human Trafficking 

Setting: Find a quiet, meditative space to pray.  You can gather with a group of people, or pray by yourself.  Place a lit candle in front of you to remind you of the presence of God as a light in the darkness for victims of trafficking.

Introduction: Lectio Divina is Latin for "divine reading."  This is a style of prayer that began in the Benedictine monastic communities, and engages with Scripture in four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.  It is a way to engage with Scripture as the Living Word with wisdom to teach us about our own context in the world today.

On this World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, we invite you to use the practice of Lectio Divina with excerpts from Psalm 10 below.  For those who fall victim to the lies and deceit of traffickers, their situation can often feel hopeless and they can feel abandoned by God.  In contemplating the realities of human trafficking we too might wonder, "Where is God, to allow this to happen?"  But we know that God is always present, especially with the poor and the oppressed, and desires their freedom.  We engage in prayerful reflection of Psalm 10 crying out to God for justice and freedom for all those oppressed and enslaved in our world today.

Opening Prayer:  O Holy Wisdom, divine Spirit of life and liberation, open our hearts and minds to hear the Word you are about to speak to us through your Holy Scripture.  Strengthen us in faith and courage as we continue to work against the sinful structures of human trafficking and promote the human dignity of all your beloved children.  In the name of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, we pray - Amen.

Process: Have one person slowly read through the following passage.  As the Scripture is read, notice which word/s or phrase/s stand out most to you.  After the passage has been read allow space for each person to speak the word or phrase that stood out to them.  Repeat this process twice.

Psalm 10
Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—
    let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
They sit in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places they murder the innocent.
Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
    they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.
10 They stoop, they crouch,
    and the helpless fall by their might.
11 They think in their heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12 Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    do not forget the oppressed.
13 Why do the wicked renounce God,
    and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?
14 But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
    that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
    you have been the helper of the orphan.

17 Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
    you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
18 to do justice for the poor and the oppressed,
    so that those of the earth may strike terror no more.

Process: After the second reading and sharing, allow for a few minutes of contemplative silence. Then open the space for any additional sharing or comments connected to the Scripture and the work against human trafficking.  How does this Scripture speak to you about the reality of human trafficking?  What emotions does it evoke in you?  Once everyone has shared, end with the closing prayer below.  

Closing Prayer: by Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU
Every hour of the day, women, children, and men cry out in anguished prayer: “How long will our cries for help fall on deaf ears? How long will we be forgotten?” Breathe into us their sorrows and losses. Breathe into us their fears and despair. Breathe into us their exhaustion and hunger. Breathe into us their shame and humiliation. Breathe into us their shattered trust in humanity. Breathe into us their fragile hope to remain alive.  Jesus, Companion of the Trafficked, as we carry their suffering may we be more vigilant protectors of all trafficked victims and survivors. May people from every corner of the world work to hold traffickers and consumers accountable for this crime of modern day slavery. Amen

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