Shared by Agatha Pratt

I witnessed these three during my recent trip to Mexico and Cuba. I thought of how each one of them tied into our Advent season. Like Texas, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other places hit by natural catastrophic disasters, these two countries were also hit by hurricane (Cuba) and earthquake (Mexico). We saw on media how people rushed to the aid of their neighbors—using their bare hands to help dig free those trapped under rubble and distributing food, water and blankets to survivors. Frida Sophia, a child, briefly served as a symbol of hope. Someone by the name of Marta Laura was found praying with her rosary outside a collapsed building.  When asked if she had heard anything about her husband who had just started working in one of the buildings that collapsed, she shook her head but said the last thing that you give up is faith that he will be found alive for her children.

Father Genaro Chavez, the priest at Our Lady of Carmen, talked about the good deeds that had helped lift the spirits of grieving families. “First with their faith and secondly, through the tremendous solidarity that people are showing. All of Mexico is gathering here, focusing on this place right now,”

Paul connected the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love in his First Letter to the Corinthians. Faith leads us to hope.  We have faith in a loving, ever-present, trustworthy God, whose son’s coming we hoped and looked forward to.  And this faith leads us to hope – the belief that God will continue to create and that there is a plan for creation, and for each of us, and that death does not end our journey toward and with God.  We are not always sure of or understand what or who God is and sometimes find it difficult or know how to reach out to God.

Hope is a sign of our human resilience.  Emily Dickinson describes hope as a “thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” We think of a bird-like hope that rests within us just merely waiting to be set free as our spirit is set free. So I saw all of these in a people who were resilient, who shared and looked out for their neighbor, who brought children off the streets to give them hope for living and becoming productive members of society. In Cuba, everyone – rich and poor – is entitled to basic foodstuff that they collect free of charge on a weekly or monthly basis so that they do not go hungry. The government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens. The education system is 100% subsidized by the government with students at all levels attending school for free. Education is compulsory for children from ages to 6 to 16. These systems help the citizens to handle disasters such as the one experienced but resilience, hope and faith get top marks

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