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I Give You Jesus

by Sr. Latha Jeya T.

I Give You Jesus


A parish where the ICM sisters work in Burundi, the Parish of the Good Shepherd (Paroisse Bon Pasteur) has a center for children at risk loosely translated as Pastoral Initiative for the Reintegration of Children in Need/Difficulty.

I have received so many gifts from many loved ones, but the one I received from a little boy in Burundi cannot be compared with any gift.  Jules was a street boy at age 6.  Listening to his story, I learned that he was chased away by his father because he betrayed him to his neighbor. 

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Jules lost his mother after his birth and a stepmother took her mother’s place.  Jules felt less warmth from her and soon his father’s presence became a real threat to him.  This was because his father would steal the hens and cocks of their neighbor to sell it in the market.  Jules always accompanied him to the market.  One day while he was playing, Jules heard the neighbors complaining about their lost cocks.  He responded with all his innocence that his father sells them every day in the market!

When this reached his father, Jules was severely beaten.  As Jules knew the way to the city market, he left his family and went there in search of food and shelter.  He soon found a peer group and learned how to take drugs.   After a couple of days he was brought to our Center which cares for street children.  His painful story and his beautiful smile touched me and all the caretakers.  For every little thing that we gave to him he would say, “Murakoze imana irahezhire.” (Thank you and may God bless you) with a smiling face and gratitude. 

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One fine day when one of our Burundian sisters was talking to him, Jules told the sister, “Sister you give me soap, cloth, food, shelter, etc.  Thank you sister and I  lack nothing.”  So the sister spontaneously asked him what he would give back for us.   Little Jules replied, “Sister I GIVE YOU JESUS.”   

We had no words to respond to this innocence, just an embrace to receive the love of Jesus alive in a child.  Is this not a beautiful gift?  Jesus’ words became alive “Whatsoever you do to the least you have done it for me.” 

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I am grateful for these grace-filled moments that I spent with the street children in our center IPRED (Initiative Pastoral de Réinsertion des Enfants en Difficulté).  Listening to their stories, playing together and dancing together with the children, sharing my love and concern, I see a tremendous change in their lives and today they are no more street children.  They are the future and they have woven into their difficult past a courage beyond their years.  I have a deep joy in being with them and journeying with them to search together for a better future. The little angel Jules returned to his family and took up his studies.  His beautiful gift JESUS is always with us.  May you all receive the gift that is Jesus too. 

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