Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Let's Fast From Freedom

Are you, like me, beginning to forget the commitment to act and pray to end human trafficking? I admit I feel like a bit like a clanging gong that no one can hear. But I made a commitment and I WILL see it through. Why? Because last week Costa Rican papers reported that a man from reported being brought here under conditions of slavery to work in a restaurant in order to pay off a debt his family owed the traffickers. He was afraid to go to authorities because being returned to his own country would mean certain death. Because the other day Maria at Salvando Corazones posted that she was thankful for calm seas that day because you never know what thoughts, flashbacks or memories will rock the world of those who have been abused and exploited nor do you know when. Because the Costa Rican government has openly stated in the last few weeks that it does not know how to close the loop hole that allows drug and human traffickers to apply for residency legally by taking up temporary residency in a different state of the U.S. and getting their police report from that state, thereby covering up their criminal history. They have passed a new law that states that if at any time any of these items is found on a person's record, his/her residency can be revoked. And so traffickers of all types and sorts have an open door to take up residency here and the blue print with which to do it.

I have more to tell you and a growing list of ways you can help with the plan for the Blessed Zelie Martin Initiative that I laid out here. . I am putting together some other actions that I hope you will help me with in the areas of government action and responsible tourism. I am planning a trip to visit the safe house for Salvando Corazones and put my head together with Maria about what we can do together.

In the mean time, as a family, we begin a circulating Holy Hour for the month of missions in the communities of our church parish. We will kneel in the presence of the Lord of Lords every afternoon for the next two weeks with our brothers and sisters and pray for the Church's call to missions. And I will beg that we embrace this as part of our collective mission as a Church, the call to act to end the atrocity of human slavery.

And while we are doing that, I offer you another action to keep us all focused on this fight. Let's fast from freedom this week. The victims of trafficking and slavery lose so many basic freedoms: the freedom to eat, sleep, use the bathroom when they want to, the freedom to speak to whom they wish, the freedom to call their bodies there own, the freedom to love, to trust, to hope. Is there a friend or a family member with whom you can share your desire to act on behalf of these victims? Might you enlist their help in a fast of sorts from a basic freedom you enjoy daily?

What if for one day, you did not go to the bathroom without asking someone's permission first? Or leave the house? Or go to bed? Or eat? Or drink? Or speak to someone else? I think it will serve as a poignant reminder to me of all the basic human freedoms I take for granted on a daily basis.

Over the course of the next week, I am going to enlist my husband's help (poor thing, I have no friends I can enlist as texting buddies here, he has to  bear the brunt of my crazy ideas) in this endeavor. I am going to choose a particular freedom listed above and get him to agree that I will ask his permission and he has to grant before I act. Every single time. And each time I go through the process, I will stop to pray for all the people on the world who live daily without freedom, who are begging for a basic mercy and being beaten or kicked or abused for asking, who are waking up at night in a terrified sweat, imprisoned by traumatic memories, who have been made vulnerable by poverty or culture or war or neglect.

If anyone decides to join me and walk beside me in this endeavor, I welcome the company. But if I go it alone, so be it. This is the call of my heart. A "yes" I offered to my merciful Savior. I will not, with His grace, take it back because I feel silly or lonely or like I am shouting into a dark abyss. I will cling to Him and seek the grace to continue on.

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