On Saturday, myself and Juliette and our friend Angel attended a CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) Young Adult event. The aim of the event was to bring young Christian adults together in a space where we could reflect and learn about some of CAFOD’s recent campaign work.
Our train from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone was set to leave at 08:15 am. The day started with a rush and suspense as our friend Angel was still pounding the streets around 08.05 hoping to make the train. Time was creeping and we were so sure that she was not going to make it so with two minutes until departure, Juliette and I boarded the train. But, lo and behold, just as we took our seats, Angel called to say she was at the station! We had her ticket with us so without thought, I jumped off the train, handed the ticket to her through the barrier and we both leapt back into the carriage with moments to spare!
It was such a triumphant moment as the three of us embraced each other, our carriage filled with laughter punctuated by panting breaths of relief! And I’m glad to say that there were no more hurdles to navigate as the rest of the day was smooth sailing. But we carried that shared experience of jubilation all throughout the day with a bounce in our step and smirks on our faces.
It was really nice being at CAFOD again as I had not been to the office in a long time. I never get tired of hearing the sustainable eco-friendly systems that the building comprises. For example, the cupboard doors in the kitchen are made from recycled yoghurt pots and the countertops are made of recycled coffee cups!
I didn’t anticipate that we’d see our friends from Pax Christi, Assumption Sisters and CoE so it was such a delight to see some of them there as the last time we were together was for COP26 in Glasgow. It felt like a full circle moment!
The day offered ample time for listening, reflecting and discussing. For one of the tasks, we broke out into small groups where we had to read some quotes and pick one that stood out to us. The quote that was picked to focus on was one from Pope Francis.
I really like this quote because it is put plainly, but carries so much truth. I think in this quote, Pope Francis is telling, not just Catholics, but the world, that we should be aware of the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and that our solidarity with the vulnerable in society is so important.
There are many things that keep us far from the sufferings of others and lead us to apathy. We are people who are always in a hurry with our lives and our personal goals. Extreme individualism sees that we are occupied with our selves and so filled to the brim with our own world that we don’t stop to look at those who are inundated with injustices and whose human rights are violated daily.
But whilst the quote is a very true and poignant one, it also raised a tinge of anxiety. That feeling where you want to help and stop every injustice in the world, but you can’t because you’re just a young girl from south-east London. Often, quotes like this make me want to find my cape or my wand, launch myself into the sky, look around at all the injustices, wave my wand at it whilst simultaneously saying ‘be restored!’ But I know this is not possible for me or for any human being for that matter!
And then that feeling of helplessness can slowly usher in apathy because the “world is so big and you can’t heal every pain so maybe I should just focus on myself?” Life is a journey, and I am only one person, (and I am sure there are some people that feel like this too) so although I may feel stirred to speak out on every injustice I should also remember that God is in control and he will soon judge the earth.
There is a verse in scripture that says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase”(1 Corinthians 3:6). The Holy Spirit often puts this verse back into my mind whenever I feel hopeless about the impact of my actions. It is a beautiful reminder that we all play a part in making the world a better place and it is God that ultimately has the final say!