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.
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:
- Prayer: Exist spiritually in solidarity with those who are suffering.
- Charity: Find ways to give to those who are in need of our immediate help.
- 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.
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.