Praying, Giving and Reflecting on the tragedy in Japan

Christians are people called to have a compassionate heart in the midst of great suffering that emulates the compassionate and healing spirit of Jesus Christ. Our brothers and sisters in Japan are undergoing an immense suffering that continues to unfold now with the situation of controlling their nuclear power plant. As of March 15 this latest NY Times story shares the current situation that they face.

Workers Strain to Retake Control After Blast and Fire at Japan Plant –

Like other similar situations involving natural disasters many of us can wonder what if anything we can do to help? There are three suggested steps that we are often encouraged to take:

  1. Prayer: Exist spiritually in solidarity with those who are suffering.
  2. Charity: Find ways to give to those who are in need of our immediate help.
  3. Justice: Faith teaches us that suffering has a purpose. We are asked to reflect on where God is in moments such as this. The situation regarding the nuclear power plants and the level of natural disasters beg us to reflect on our social priorities as we learn from the lessons of what is taking place in Japan.

With this post I will share a resource for each of these steps.

Prayer in Times of Natural Disasters: (This prayer is borrowed from the Center of Concerns’ Education for Justice Office)

Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by recent natural disasters. We remember those who have lost their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayers for strength. Bless those who have survived and heal their memories of trauma and devastation. May they have the courage to face the long road of rebuilding ahead.

We ask your blessing on all those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security and their hope. Bless the work of relief agencies and those providing emergency assistance. May their work be guided by the grace and strength that comes from You alone.

Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, in aid to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of those affected, even after the crisis is over. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Donate to the Catholic Relief Service’s (CRS)response to Japan:

There are many great organizations that you can financially support to aid them in addressing the needs of the people who are suffering from natural disasters. If you have such an organizational relationship that you trust please donate through them. For my part I have been impressed with CRS with the activities that they do and the way they manage their funds to efficiently serve their mission. I offer a link to their response center for your consideration.

CRS Ready to Respond to Devastation in Japan. 

Reflect on the situation of Nuclear Power in light of this situation.

Personally I am a proponent of renewable energy and I strongly believe that we must reduce our consumption of oil and fossil fuels. My own struggle with nuclear energy is the ecological impact of disposing the radioactive waste but on the other hand I also believe that it may serve a transitional purpose as we move away from fossil fuel. This Foreign Policy article from a proponent of nuclear energy offers a tempered perspective on addressing the issues that the Japanese face in light of our continued use of nuclear energy. I offer it as an analysis for our own reflection on this issue.

Nuclear Power is Worth the Risk.  


About jdgonzo73

I am a Catholic lay minister in the field of Christian ethics, Latino theology and Paulacrucian spirituality. I am currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Fordham, an ad-junct professor at Molloy College and St. John's University and the Project Coordinator with the Catholic Roundtable.
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4 Responses to Praying, Giving and Reflecting on the tragedy in Japan

  1. Intercessory prayer and giving to help organizations–I wonder how many of those who have been glued to horrible images from Japan have also been spurred to action? I include that in my prayers–a spiritual nudging of those viewers that could possibly be upgraded to a swift kick in the pants!

  2. jdgonzo73 says:

    Thank you worldunveiled, I always liked the quote from St. Peter Chrysologus that I would like ot share with you because your admonition reminds me of his wisdom.
    “Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting, let no one try to seperate them. They cannot be seperated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. … If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.”

  3. Sebastian MacDonald says:

    As you said, blogs help one to step into the middle of an ongoing fracas and elicit attention from all participants. Usually this move doesn’t end the disagreement, but it may move it a step closer to an acceptable conclusion. And it may not. Disagreement is what makes the world go around, and it may have a very long life, as, for instance, the disagreement on national fiscal policy between the two major American political parties. How long can disagreement on nuclear policy continue, without the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”? If ongoing disagreement about nuclear policy is inching toward solution, how much time can we afford to wait until a suitable way of dealing with nuclear energy is finalized? Implicit in this scenario is the optimistic trust that, given the time and the financing, we can solve any problem. Is that true? Is it satisfactory to suggest that we can solve most of the problem, or maybe half of it? Or is there a different scenario in which we agree that, by a certain time and after a certain amount of financing, we will discontinue the effort at looking to nuclear energy to meet our needs? And, if so, is there reason to think that a different scenario, involving another kind of energy, safer (if not cheaper), is the only way to go? It may be that, should we abandon the nuclear option, we will never find another energy resource equal to it in its potential. If that’s the case, can we live with that possibility? I don’t have the answer t o these questions, but they strike me as central to where we are at presently.

  4. jdgonzo73 says:

    One should usually employ a heurmenetics of suspicion if the answer is to clear cut. Certainly the questions and considerations that you pose elaborate on only a fraction of the complexity revolving around this issue, but as FDR once said: “One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.”

    Nuclear power poses a great risk that we cannot ignore. A policy that secures what we have while offering a moratorium on the new development of this energy may need to be considered while investing in technologies on energy sources we know to be much safer.

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