To my brothers and sisters in developing countries:
While I was deciding which oat bran cereal to eat this morning, you were searching the ground for leftover grains from the passing wheat truck.
While I was jogging at the health center, you were working in the wealthy landowner’s field under a scorching sun.
While I was choosing between diet and regular soda, your parched lips were yearning for a sip of clean water.
While I complained about the poor service in the gourmet restaurant, you were gratefully eating a bowl of rice.
While I poured my “fresh and better” detergent into the washing machine, you stood in the river with your bundle of clothes.
While I read the newspaper and drank my cup of steaming coffee, you walked the long, dusty miles to a crowded schoolroom to learn how to read.
While I scanned the ads for a bargain on an extra piece of clothing, you woke up and put on the same shirt and pants that you have worn for many months.
While I built a fourteen-room house for the three of us, your family of ten found shelter in a one-room hut.
While I went to church last Sunday and felt more than slightly bored, you stood on the land with those around you and felt gratitude to God for being alive for one more day.
My brothers and sisters, forgive me for my arrogance and my indifference. Forgive me for my greed of always wanting newer, bigger, and better things. Forgive me for not doing my part to change the unjust systems that keep you suffering and impoverished. I offer you my promise to become more aware of your situation and to change my lifestyle as I work for the transformation of our world.
"Apology to My Brothers and Sisters in Developing Countries" taken from out of the ordinary: prayers, poems, and reflections for every season, by Joyce Rupp Copyright 2000. Used by permission of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved.
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