Germany: Meeting God out on the streets

Kreuzberg is a run-down district of Berlin where many drug addicts, homeless people and illegal immigrants live. A small community of Jesuits started up over twenty years ago to do factory work and get involved in the neighbourhood. More recently, Christian Herwartz SJ began guiding the Spiritual Exercises and welcoming outsiders to make them here. Just as Moses approaching the burning bush found himself on holy ground, retreatants are sent out into the city to find ?holy ground? where they can take off their shoes and encounter the Lord. Discovering how God loves those who are ?other?, the retreatants discover His love and forgiveness for themselves. For example, a woman found a place to pray near a detention centre for illegal immigrants and so met a woman from a distant country who was about to be deported and separated from her husband and child. With the inspiration of this detained woman and her young son, the Exercises continued and the exercitant?s heart filled with gratitude because of God?s call and invitation to be in communion with Him. Making the Exercises in the streets is a chance for better-off retreatants to leave behind the protection of their privileges and set out on a path of respect and simplicity, a path of liberation that reveals God wherever He waits for each of us. [HL20208]