Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prayers and Help for Haiti

Starting last Fall, my son has had the exceedingly good fortune to have a chance to play for a club soccer team that is run by the New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph. He's great at working with kids, and so are his coaches. Many of the coaches and staff associated with the club are from Haiti.

As more and more reports come in, we are seeing the horrific consequences emerging from Haiti as a result of the earthquake that struck this week. The scope of the destruction is enormous and the death toll may reach into the tens of thousands.

It took some of the coaches a long time to get any news out of Haiti, but as of today we now know that they've lost family members. Please join me in praying not only for them and their families, but for the thousands and thousands of people who are suffering in Haiti from this tragedy.

Ways to help:

Doctors without Borders. Hit Donate, choose ecards and tributes; choose donate online; and under tribute information type Shalrie Joseph SC Lions (If you write 'Shalrie Joseph SC Lions' for the tribute, they will ensure all donations go to Haiti).

Also, see America magazine:

Ways to Help

More Ways to Help in Haiti: JRS

How to Help in Haiti

Michael Sean Winters writes On Suffering:

On mornings like this, only the tears flow easily. Thoughts and words grapple with the enormity of a tragedy so devastating. Three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse have made their grim way to Haiti – War is busy elsewhere – and yet, already, we discern a fifth horseman on the horizon, Chaos, and know that he may bring the most evil and be the most difficult to overcome...

My friend Christopher Hitchens says that the suffering of one child should force us to question the existence of God. And so it should. But, it is more than a little ironic that Hitchens’ robustly secular worldview does not require anything in the way of solidarity with the suffering of a child and the religious worldview he questions not only demands such solidarity, it already had people on the ground before the earthquake. The Church’s concern and care for the poor does not need a headline to become manifest, it is on-going, and has been from that day when the Master fed the hungry multitudes with five loaves and two fish until today. Still, Hitchens’ question cannot be dismissed by good works. Why is there this new, acute suffering in a land where suffering was already chronic?

There is no answer to the question of suffering...

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete ... spoke about the mystery of suffering. He warned us not to try and seek answers to our suffering lest we become like Job’s friends. They, too, tried to explain to Job why he suffered and, at the end of the story, God upbraids them for this. He told us that only those who love suffer, that only a heart that is open is capable of breaking, and so the mystery is not suffering, the mystery is love. In the end, we are not called to understand suffering nor to explain it, but to embrace it as the price of love.

Today, let us embrace the suffering we feel in our hearts and the much greater suffering we see in the streets of Haiti. Let us turn our prayers to God, not in the manner of Job’s friends, but in the manner of the Mother of God, silently standing at the foot of the Cross... In a word, let us not be crippled by the suffering we see but let us find ways to love these Haitian neighbors in this dreadful hour. The mystery is not suffering. The mystery is love.


TrishaSGerry said...


Joe said...

When we see tragedy and suffering of such enormity in places that are already living hardship as a constant component in their lives, it is clear that there is no balance nor divine justice of any kind. No sense can be made of it. Love is finally the only thing that makes sense.

Jeff said...

Thanks Joe,

We can only hope (not wish) that there will be divine justice somewhere, but well said.

You know, I was listening to Pat Robertson the other day saying that the Haitians were being punished for making a deal with the devil, and I just wanted to hurl.

No, Pat. The earthquake happened because of plate tectonics. The Caribbean Plate is grinding against the Atlantic Plate and it's as brutally simple as that, that's all.

The world is built to do these things, it must do these things, they were essential for life itself to flourish to begin with, and shifting continental plates and volcanoes actually provide a means for the world to recycle and renew itself.

If it was God who made the world this way, it is the mystery of our human capacity to love rather than our capacity for suffering, that might make more sense for us to ponder.

Mike McG... said...

Haitian proverb: "No one hears the cry of the poor or the sound of the wooden bell." I wonder if Haitians echo Jesus' words: "My God, why have you foresaken me?"

While in Port-au-Prince back in the day I stayed at Hospice St. Joseph, a hostal for Haitians from the provinces receiving outpatient medical tx in the capitol, the families of provincial inpatients, and volunteers from abroad. The Hospice's US based website reports that they still have been unable to make contact with hospice workers and residents.

Jeff said...


This strikes close to home for you. That's awful news. Let's keep them in our prayers.