The mission of JRS-Belgium consists in accompanying people detained in closed centres and return houses, being at their service, and advocating for their rights. As a Christian organisation, founded by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the JRS draws inspiration in Lord Jesus’ love for the poor and the outcast. We strongly believe that God is at work in the History of mankind, even in its darkest moments. This conviction is reinforced by the experience that the people we meet in the centres very often express and share with us deep spiritual needs.
Here are a few thoughts that inspire us and reflect the values that inspire our work. Our Christian faith does in no way keep us from working with and cooperating with people of different faiths or convictions, as long as they respect our mission and values.
The next to nothing
The quality of listening lies in the space it makes for the very little, the stammering, the silences and, on the other hand, the virulent flow of words and freedom of association. It requires the ability to stay alert to be surprised, hear the incredible, perceive the detail that is off key; not to let the striking violence, the dull repetition, or the bewitching charm paralyse oneself; but to detect the restraint, the change in the tone in the voice, in the body language, in the posture…
Such a quality of listening needs to identify the very little, those moment-events, name them, so as to be able to refer back to them and for the germs to grow and not escape before having borne fruit of what still has to be born; the leaven in the dough. Above all, listening should give them their own place, not play them down or, worse, deny them.
Agnès Bressolette, Born vulnerable
It is sometimes good to stand back and look back over one’s shoulder.
The realm does not only lie beyond our efforts, but also beyond our sight.
In our lifetime, we only accomplish a small part of the wonderful enterprise that is God’s work.
Never do we complete anything,
which in other words means
that the realm always lies beyond our capabilities.
Not a single declaration says all that could be said.
Not a single prayer expresses our belief wholly.
Not a single religion brings about perfection.
Not a single pastoral visit provides fulfilment.
Not a single programme fulfils the mission of the Church.
Not a single set of aims and objectives can be complete.
That is how we are.
We plant seeds which someday will grow.
We water them, aware that they carry/bear the promise of the future.
We lay the foundations on which others will build.
We provide the leaven/germ which will generate results much beyond our abilities.
We cannot do everything,
and understanding this gives us the feeling of being liberated.
This allows us to do something, and do it well.
It may not be over, but it is a start,
A step further along the way,
An opportunity to let in the grace of God that will do what remains to be done.
We may never see the final outcome,
but that is the difference between the master craftsman and the worker/labourer.
We are workers, not master craftsmen,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are the prophets of the future that does not belong to us.
Bishop Ken Untener de Saginaw
attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero from San Salvador