This story on CNN.com about the religious captivity of Christian Meriam Ibrahim pulled at my heart. I often "pray the news." If something hard (or wonderful) happens in the world, I add it to my prayer intentions for a few days. I remember this story had stops and starts. Ibrahim was released from prison and but then recaptured at the airport. Everything seems so hopeless. She was so far away. I wanted to give her a hug, but that was impossible. It's one of those situations where I keep praying but inside worry that my prayer is useless.
From what I understand, Ibrahim is a Christian, but not a Catholic. After her release, her first stop was to visit Pope Francis in Rome, rather than coming immediately to America. It's this beautiful reminder that our Pope, my Papa, is the Father of all Christians (and indeed everyone in the whole world.) Pope Francis cares so intimately for people. The pictures of Pope Francis gently stroking Ibrahim's tiny daughter are so beautiful. I feel like my Pope is standing in for me, and for all the Christians around the world, who prayed for Ibrahim. This is how we greet our Christian sister in our hearts, with warmth, gentleness, thanksgiving, and admiration for her bravery.
I read of Father Ed's blog, a fact that I never heard on CNN.com. Ibrahim's daughter saved her life! She was condemned to death for deserting her Muslim faith, but she got a deferment to breastfeed her baby. During that time, international pressure became enough to demand her release. What an unexpected pro-life story.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for Ibrahim family to heal emotionally from their trauma. Protect and bless all who suffer religious persecution in the world today.