Catholic sister who has lived in Myanmar.
A sister who has lived in Myanmar has prepared a Stations of the Cross which enables us, during this Holy Week, to journey with Jesus and his suffering in the suffering of the people of Myanmar. These Stations of the Cross are titled: “A Way of the Cross – United in Solidarity with People in Myanmar”.
In the Opening Prayer of this Way of the Cross we pray: “God of mercy and compassion, we are here to journey in spirit with our sisters and brothers in Myanmar in their courage and commitment to bring peace and freedom in this world, particularly in their beloved country. May the life of Jesus strengthen us to manifest the power of nonviolence, to reconcile humanity in loving justice and peace.”
In solidarity with the people of Myanmar, as they walk in peaceful protest through streets in cities, towns and villages, we pray for them and with them. As we take this Way of the Cross together with the people of Myanmar we see in their suffering – Jesus is condemned to death today; Jesus carries his cross today; Jesus falls the first time; today Jesus meets his mother Mary; today Simon helps Jesus carry his cross; today Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; today Jesus falls a second time; today Jesus speaks to the women; today Jesus falls yet again; today Jesus is stripped of his garments; today Jesus is nailed to the cross; today Jesus dies on the cross and Jesus is taken down from the cross.
The world is still in shock at what happened in Myanmar on February 1st, 2021 when the military declared a state of emergency and took over the newly elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi just as the newly elected members of parliament were about to hold their first meeting. We are in shock at what continues to happen to the peaceful protestors at the brutal hands of the military.
In his message to the international community, Cardinal Charles Bo wrote: “We are grateful for your concern and appreciate your sense of shock. We are grateful for your compassionate accompaniment at this moment.” Let us continue our compassionate accompaniment with the people of Myanmar as we pray this Way of the Cross, keeping the memory of all those who have been killed and praying for peace.
In the Closing Prayer of the Way of the Cross, we pray: “Jesus our Companion, thank you for being gentle, loving, compassionate and self-giving. You are so nonviolent that you inspire us and draw us to live in truth, love and forgiveness.
May this journey of solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Myanmar give us the courage to choose your way of nonviolence and create peace and justice on this Earth. Make us your instruments of peace, that we might, even in a small way, turn war, oppression, violence into freedom, compassion and love. Bless our brothers and sisters in Myanmar with your love and care. Bless their passion, courage and great desire for freedom and peace. Touch hearts of the oppressors with your compassion that they too experience the power of Eternal Love and Peace. As we are called to follow you, Jesus, help us to be peacemakers, to live in your peace, love and compassion, and to bring your Kingdom on this Earth always forever and ever. Amen.”
Columban Fr Kevin O'Neill is currently on the Peace, Ecology and Justice (PEJ) Team at St Columban's, Essendon.