LIFE IN CHRIST
MAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
THE HUMAN COMMUNION
II. CONVERSION AND SOCIETY
1886 Society is essential to the fulfillment of the human vocation. To attain this aim, respect must be accorded to the just hierarchy of values, which “subordinates physical and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones:”8
Human society must primarily be considered something pertaining to the spiritual. Through it, in the bright light of truth, men should share their knowledge, be able to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations, be inspired to seek spiritual values; mutually derive genuine pleasure from the beautiful, of whatever order it be; always be readily disposed to pass on to others the best of their own cultural heritage; and eagerly strive to make their own the spiritual achievements of others. These benefits not only influence, but at the same time give aim and scope to all that has bearing on cultural expressions, economic, and social institutions, political movements and forms, laws, and all other structures by which society is outwardly established and constantly developed.9
1887 The inversion of means and ends,10 which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which “make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible.”11
1888 It is necessary, then, to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him. The acknowledged priority of the conversion of heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it.12
1889 Without the help of grace, men would not know how “to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.”13 This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.”14
What is the interior conversion needed today in the society of our country so that we might respond more in charity to the needs of others in society, especially those who are different from us?
Why do you think the Church describes her path as the narrow way of charity that passes between the cowardice of inaction and the violence of forcing decisions on others?
Today there is much talk about individual rights that even seem to place them above the rights of the society or community. The needs of the society for its development and wellbeing supersede those of the individual. For example, we may speak of an individual’s right to drive because she has her driver’s license. Yet this individual right gives way to respecting society and other drivers on the road, respecting laws meant for the healthy wellbeing of everyone.
Reference: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Author: Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School
Published: 07 July 2020
A Reflection on the readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 12, 2020
Our lives have been upended these last few months with the Coronavirus, the economic collapse, and all the additional struggles we face in our day to day lives. My greatest consolation is that amidst all this chaos, God is right there present with us . . .
Nothing is impossible with God (Mt 17:20) on our side, which means, we must be on his side, too. What does that look like? We must take time to “be with the one we love.” If we say we love someone, we talk, listen and develop a relationship with them. God is no different and in fact, it is a must that we establish a relationship of prayer and intimacy with our Lord. This intimacy takes time and TRUST in the Lord. How do we know he is trustworthy? In Isaiah 55, the LORD our God says that if he wills something to happen, it WILL happen! His word will “achieve the end for which I sent it” says the LORD. Let our faith guide our life . . . if He says it, it will happen!
We may ask, “Well why doesn’t he do something to relieve the suffering?” I would answer, “He has and is continuing to help us.” The problem is that many times we don’t have the “eyes to see or ears to hear” as the Gospel message tells us. We want our situation fixed the way WE want it to be fixed. That is not the way of a loving Father. He allows us to suffer so that we grow in faith, hope and love – always! He never allows suffering unless good can come from it, but that assumes that we cooperate with his method of “raising his children.”
This is difficult to accept, just remember what it was like when you were a teenager and your parents directed your life . . . we did not like it, because we thought we knew better. As it turns out, I know now, as an adult, my father and mother were right! We are immature children, spiritually, and God is constantly wanting us to grow up!
The difficulties we face in our lives are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven, to those who “endure to the end.” (Mt 10:22) In other words, God is saying, whatever you have endured during your earthly life, it is worth it! In this way, you get the greatest gift – eternal life! This “endurance” is gained by being “set free from the slavery of corruption.” In other words, freedom from sin. Sin is the only thing that can make our suffering ineffectual. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us, especially through the Sacraments, we are empowered to overcome our habitual sins – we must become holy! If we say, “I can’t be holy,” that is the greatest lie that Satan has perpetuated throughout history. Read The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity by Matthew Kelly. It is very readable and not too lengthy. He writes that if Satan can convince us that holiness is not achievable, Satan will win the battle for our souls. Don’t be fooled! Believe that God’s grace can overcome ANY of our weakness as St. Paul states, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)
This classic parable of Jesus is what we need to be told every day, “Listen to me.” The LORD speaks to us throughout our day . . . do we listen? Do we say with Samuel, “Speak LORD, your servant is listening.” (1 Sam 3:10) or do we want to do our will? The parable of the sower has a key example that I would like to highlight . . . that of the seed falling on rocky ground. The LORD tells us that the seed that falls on rocky ground receives the word of God with joy, but as soon as tribulations and difficulties arise, they fall away from the faith because their roots were shallow. Our challenge is to establish “deep roots” in Christ.
The best way to establish “deep roots” is as follows: 1) Confess and repent of our sins. 2) Receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist every week, if possible. 3) Study and meditate on The Word of God (the Bible) every day. 4) Spend quiet time with the LORD every day, at least 10 minutes in the morning and before bed, more if possible. 5) Serve those in need, start with your family and work outwards. 6) Fast every Friday or once per week. 7) Repeat steps 1 through 6.
Bearing fruit is the way that we know we are living “in Christ.” If we do not bear fruit, the consequences are serious . . . The LORD says, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” (Mt 7:15-20) Let’s make sure we are bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God . . . so as to see each other in heaven one day!
Peace be with you,
Author: Henry Avila
Published: 06 July 2020
Life is a pilgrimage, a journey. But what kind of journey? I once heard a story of two friends. They had been friends since childhood. One day one of them packed his bags and told his friend he felt called to move to another city. He established himself in a tiny room where he had minimum furnishings. His friend came to visit him and was surprised to see how he lived. When he asked his friend why he lived this way his answer left him pondering, “I do not need more; I am a Pilgrim on the journey I don’t need many things, I need to be ready at any time.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” —St. Augustine
This truth about ourselves is what keeps us seeking union with all that is from God. We seek Him interiorly through prayer and solitude. In some way a pilgrimage is a journey in which we search for God, for a connection with all that we consider holy, spiritual.
A Pilgrimage someone said, “is a Journey a person feels they need to take”. In all times and in all religions, there has been this drive for pilgrimage. Sometimes it is out of grief or the need for penance or seeking healing. Other times people want to visit places where someone that has been an object of their studies or influential in their spiritual journey lived or died. They want to retrace or follow in their footstep’s seeking further illumination and inspiration.
If you ask pilgrims, you will find all sorts of answers. Some of those answers are I come on pilgrimage in search of purpose in life or seeking spiritual wellbeing. I come on pilgrimage seeking adventure following the footsteps of someone. I come seeking peace and prayer. A Pilgrimage is an opportunity to take things slower and reflect on my life. I come to visit Mary who I believe is present here.
We could say all these answers are valid reasons to go on Pilgrimage. Today many people mix Pilgrimage with tourism and I guess that is all good. But why would you want to go on a Pilgrimage? Where would you go on Pilgrimage?
I have been privileged to go on many pilgrimages for one or more of these reasons, but the common reason has been that I felt I was being called to that Pilgrimage for a reason. Pilgrimages require prayer and solitude and an open disposition to embrace the inspirations and graces that will be received. I have never gone on a Pilgrimage where I have not come back with insights and graces from above.
Who does not remember St. Helena from Constantinople who in the early centuries journeyed to the Holy Land seeking to see and bring back holy relics of Our Lord Jesus Christ and build churches to mark and remember these holy places.
Many Saints have wanted to reach the Holy Land like St Francis of Assisi or St. Ignatius of Loyola. Although St. Ignatius never made it to the Holy Land, he did embark on a very powerful Pilgrimage experience that led to the development of his Ignatian Discernment Exercises and later to the foundation of the Jesuits as we know them. This experience was so powerful that he included in the Constitution of his community that all novices do a Pilgrimage before their profession of vows. “He believed that a Pilgrimage for the novice sent out with practically nothing was a real battle to overcome themselves and find freedom from the chains of their disordinate affections, and their attachments, in order to get to know Gods plans an follow in Jesus footsteps with a free heart.”1
Life is a true Pilgrimage we all must embark on. Our journey takes us through all life’s challenges and difficulties to our destination. We need to be equipped with the Virtues of Faith Hope and Love in order to find our last resting place which will be eternal. No one knows when the last stop will be, but we must be ready. We may say that our spiritual progress is that journey into the encounter with God who has been waiting for us as well as following and supporting us through the journey. But we must embark and not waste time. The journey is going to be full of distractions and difficulties. We are going to find many crossroads and we will have to discern which is the right path. As we journey, we will also be called to mission and that will be part of the journey. All of Christ-followers have a mission in life. Part of the journey is precisely to discover this mission and then to embark on it. Jesus is the way; our Faith in the Resurrected Jesus must be our focus and his teachings our map. We put ourselves in danger when we deviate or forget the commandments or forget to seek God’s graces in the Sacraments.
I ask you to read the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25: 1-13. Keep in mind that our lamps need to have enough oil to be let when the bridegroom shows up to take you to His Father’s house. Too many people are caught unprepared, we can only pray for them and hope in the loving mercy of the Lord.
Now think on your next pilgrimage. How will you prepare for it?
What kind of pilgrimage will it be?
Will you be listening and attentive to the invitation?
If you are interested in learning more about Pilgrimages, I would recommend to you a series of documentaries with Simond Reefe on Pilgrimage found in YouTube. Some of the comments from pilgrims were taken from his documentary. Watch the latest cartoon “The Pilgrims Progress” based on the book written by John Buyan otherwise you can find many versions of it on YouTube, and if you are interested in a book I would recommend The Way of a Pilgrim translated by Helen Bacovcin, Image Books, USA, 1934.
Since during this time of COVID-19 we cannot partake in a physical pilgrimage to a Catholic holy site or shrine, consider a pilgrimage of the heart in a virtual opportunity from your own home:
- Pick a holy site that God inspires you to visit-prepare your heart for your “journey”, prayerfully explore the site’s virtual tour, spend time in prayer and if possible attend streamed Mass at that site. This link has some of the most beautiful Churches that have virtual tours but there are so many more to choose from.
- “Visit” 3 sites in the Holy Land with University of Notre Dame- http://faith.nd.edu/s/1210/faith/interior.aspx?sid=1210&gid=609&pgid=32742
- Sign up before July 9 to “visit” Lourdes In a special virtual pilgrimage- https://lourdesvolunteers.org/online-lourdes-virtual-pilgrimage-experience-2/
- Attend a Virtual Pilgrimage at the Institute of Catholic Theology by enrolling in this free course taught by Fr. Steve Kunkel.
I pray that all who read this paper will prepare and be ready for the journey of a lifetime and that they may enjoy pilgrimages that will get them closer to fulfilling the journey to heaven, our true PILGRIMAGE.
1 Mensajero. Jose SL, El Camino Ignaciano Translated from Spanish to English, Iriberri, Jose, SJ Mensajero 100. Bilbao, 2015
Author: Alicia I Perez Nuno, Religious Educator and Spiritual Director
Published: 03 July 2020
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel? I don’t know, he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Sometimes we are all like Cain and don’t want to be concerned about the other people around us. Still, we have a responsibility towards each person, whether we like it or not – a responsibility to care for them and look out for their wellbeing. They, in turn, have the same responsibility towards us. Living fully these responsibilities is what occurs by God’s grace as we build up His kingdom of justice, truth and unconditional love. And at times we fail, and fail greatly, to live fully what God asks from us.
Regarding our failures, I’m reminded of when St. John Paul II was preparing the Church to celebrate the jubilee year in 2000 that he invited the Cardinals to Rome and asked them to bring ideas of how they thought we should celebrate. When they arrived he was anxiously awaiting and began the session stating he wanted to share his idea first. What was his idea? St. John Paul II suggested that the Church make a list of everyone she hurt, even unintentionally, over the past 2000 years and apologize when possible and make amends. He did just this and some of us Catholics were appalled asking why we should apologize for something that’s over and that we didn’t participate in. St. John Paul II knew and taught us that the wounds of the past remain beneath the scars of the present and complete healing necessitates opening the scar covered wounds and applying the healing ointment of forgiveness, binding them in bandages of new change that integrates being one’s brother’s keeper with an abundance of respect for the dignity of every human being.
Loss of Respect in Society
Today there is a great loss of respect for others and for their property and belongings. I remember growing up in North Houston in times when we rarely locked the back door and Dad would leave his car keys on the floorboard in his car. As neighbors, we looked after one another for security, when someone was ill or when there was a death in the neighborhood. We grew up learning how to be our brother’s keeper and how to be a good neighbor. I’m certain we didn’t live it out perfectly, but we did strive towards this common goal.
Police reform and Black Lives
First, thank you to all policewomen and men who already and daily serve the community professionally and with respect. As I mentioned in my homily weeks ago, the bad behavior of one or some doesn’t mean that all police are guilty of it. Black lives matter – not to be confused with the organization and its numerous agenda items – but simply and urgently referring to the lives of all of our black brothers and sisters IS A CRY FOR CHANGE. It’s an open invitation to dialogue on how we are and yet too how we have failed to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper regarding those of color.
So while we, the Catholic Church, espouse the belief and understanding that ALL LIVES MATTER – we appreciate wisdom passed on for generations that insists that we bring forward in our care and conversations those brothers and sisters whose lives – at times – are not fully respected nor treasured. The seamless garment of Jesus, for which the soldiers cast lots, is the symbol utilized by our Church regarding the seamless garment of humanity – ALL LIVES MATTER. Yet even our Lord became vocal to defend the life of an individual – to single out a person, a particular culture, and – yes, even a particular race. Jesus did so when he defended the woman caught in adultery when he stood up for Zaccheus the tax collector when he chose to converse with the Samaritan woman and most poignantly when he answered the question “and just who is my neighbor” with the telling of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Remember the Samaritans were considered halfbreeds – impure as a race, not just a culture, due to mixed marriages with pagans around them. Jesús was likely expected to have told the Parable of the Good Israeli. Perhaps we could rewrite this well-known parable and title it the Parable of the Good Black American.
Is it not a travesty to be more concerned about the wellbeing of statues, even religious ones that are desecrated, while not raising our voices concerned about the plight of another human being – be that person unborn or a prisoner, Black or white, young or old? Surely our lives and those of our brothers and sisters count for more than these inanimate objects.
Here I’m reminded of a homily I heard as a seminarian from Fr. Frank Fabj when he was parochial vicar at my home parish. The news all week carried the story of efforts to save a whale that had beached itself. I still feel Fr. Frank’s passion as he told us to “WAKE UP”. Telling us the obvious truth: it’s good and well to save and protect animals but it is wrong to be more concerned with saving stray animals and protecting endangered species than we are about our brother or sister in need.
Statues can be replaced, human beings cannot. BUT two wrongs never make something right. Violence does beget violence. So let’s STOP the violence and return to peaceful protests inspired by Martin Luther King who himself was inspired by our Lord who told Peter to put away his sword. Statues and paintings are often a reflection of the freedom of the artist who created them. This artistic license allows for a blending of past history and the present moment. Not every painting, statue nor stained glass window is meant to be historically correct nor need to be.
If statues of historical figures of the Confederacy, even ones erected with goodwill, are symbols of times of oppression and slavery to our black brothers and sisters- what shall we do with them? Certainly, we shouldn’t be destroying them but maybe they belong in a museum rather than in places of public honor where they could still teach and instruct regarding how the evil of slavery existed in this land but didn’t have the victory over good.
Would we think it good to fly a flag of the German swastika in places of public honor throughout Israel? Certainly, there are other such parallels we could consider that would help us to know and understand better what our black brothers and sisters experience.
Am I my brother’s keeper?
Shall I walk a mile in his moccasins?
What would I discover and how might I engage in being my brother’s (and sister’s) keeper?
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Author: Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor, Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School
Published: 30 June 2020
A Reflection on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 5, 2020
Our 4-year-old gets overwhelmed easily. Especially these past few months, he doesn’t understand why our busy household—work, school, parish life, extracurricular activities—stopped with little warning back in March. Almost hourly each day, he finds us, reaches up, and asks, “Can you hold me?”
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.”1
As parents, we carry similar anxiety, wanting to control circumstances beyond our expertise and understanding, frustrated when things don’t go the way we think they should, feeling pressured to count ourselves among “the wise and the learned” instead of the “little ones.” Perhaps we could learn a lesson from our 4-year-old.
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, can you hold me?
A few years ago, we were cutting down a large dead tree in our yard. One wrong estimation, and we’d have a 30-foot tree across the road, in our kitchen window, or worse, on top of one of us. The sound of a chainsaw called our neighbors to their driveways to watch.
After several cuts, we began talking anxiously under the precarious tree. Had we cut far enough through the trunk? Why wasn’t the tree falling? The YouTube video showed you cut this way and then that way and then it comes down.
We finally swallowed our pride and called over our neighbor for help. Within minutes, he pulled the ropes and directed the tree in a perfect crash onto our yard.
A job that was causing great anxiety became instantly simpler with the presence of a caring, competent friend.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”2
Am I receiving the comfort and rest of God’s presence? Or am I trying to carry heavy burdens alone? Father, Lord of heaven and earth, can you hold me?
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”3
“Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus offers in this Sunday’s Gospel (emphasis added).
Am I carrying Jesus’ yoke—with his help—or am I carrying burdens alone? Things become so complicated when we push forward alone. Father, Lord of heaven and earth, can you hold me?
“…For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”4
Lord, please transform the worry of my daily work and the overwhelming concerns around me with the peace of your presence. Father, Lord of heaven and earth, can you hold me?
Authors: Wally & Charlene Bader
Published: 28 June 2020
What is the best way to serve society? This is a question that was asked of St. Josemaría Escrivá who was called the “saint of the ordinary” by Pope John Paul II during his canonization homily on October 6, 2002.
St. Josemaría stated, “You are serving your fellow-men when you work for their spiritual good and their material good. If we each make a little effort, peace and tranquility and serenity will return to this violent world. But for there to be peace, there has to be a war! Do you have a war? I do! We all have a war on inside. I’ll say what I always say: there is something that pulls us downwards, right? And there’s another influence from God pulling us upwards, and we can choose between good and evil, between life and death, and we hesitate between the two, because we are free. Look for the good, seek life, and struggle. Sometimes you’ll be beaten. Say sorry and begin again. OK?” (St. Josemaría Escrivá, 1972 check out the video of him actually presenting this message at https://opusdei.org/en-us/article/what-is-the-best-way-to-serve-society/)
St. Josemaría Escrivá’s Feast Day is June 26th. His life work was Opus Dei which translates to “The Work of God”. The aim of Opus Dei is to foster among Christians of all social classes a life fully consistent with their faith, in the middle of the ordinary circumstances of their lives and especially through the sanctification of their work.
Many people want to do good for this world and serve society. St. Josemaría believes it can be done, right where one currently finds themselves. The love of God can be in EVERY aspect of our daily life; in our family, our professions, our conversations and in our daily obligations. We should take every opportunity to take advantage of this.
Any situation can be reframed so as to sanctify it for God. To reframe a situation one could ponder, how can I do this better with love? How would God want me to behave or handle this particular situation? The goal would be to recognize the proper mindset and ultimately give our best to help serve others. This would be to take ordinary daily tasks and reframe them according to our Godly principles and virtues.
Not one of us has to change profession or vocation to best serve society. We can start with our families, colleagues and friends. We can weave the Christ filled teachings of St. Josemaría Escrivá into our own personal ordinary lives and mindfully reframe our challenges with love. This is an exceptional road course for serving Christ and society as a whole. The ordinary becomes extraordinary with love!
Prayer for Saint Josemaría’s intercession-
O God, through the meditation of Mary our Mother, you granted your priest St. Josemaria countless graces, choosing him as a most faithful instrument to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian’s ordinary duties. Grant that I too may learn to turn all the circumstances and events of my life into occasions of loving You and serving the Church, the Pope and all souls with joy and simplicity, lighting up the pathways of this earth with faith and love.
Deign to grant me through the intercession of St. Josemaría, the favor of … (make your request). Amen.
One Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.
Photo: Used with written permission by Opus Dei Communications Office, Brian Finnerty, U.S. Communications Director, Opus Dei
St. Josemaría Escrivá, 1972. Retrieved from: https://opusdei.org/en-us/article/what-is-the-best-way-to-serve-society/
Author: Christine Lazenby
Published: 26 June 2020
Bernice Albertine King in audience with Pope Francis, 12 March 2018
Just after Freedom Day, celebrated by African Americans with particular emotion after the killing of George Floyd, Martin Luther King’s daughter reflects with Vatican Media on the nonviolent battle for equality and underlines the particular harmony between Pope Francis and her father.
By Alessandro Gisotti
On Friday, the African American community celebrated Juneteenth, the day that recalls the end of slavery. It was on June 19th in 1865 that Union Soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX, declaring the end of the Civil War. Referred to by millions of African Americans as Freedom Day, this year’s celebration takes place in a particular climate due to the growing protests surrounding the barbarous killing of George Floyd by a policeman in May.
L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican News interviewed Bernice Albertine King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. regarding her dedication to equality, the culture of peace and the value of nonviolence. A passionate human rights activist like her father, and president of the King Center in Atlanta, Bernice Albertine feels there is a strong sense of harmony between her father and Pope Francis whom she met with twice in 2018.
Not only the United States, but the entire world, is shocked by George Floyd’s death. Do you think this time the changes that did not take place in the wake of similar tragic killings of other African-Americans in the United States will take place this time?
I think that, because the world was already on alert due to COVID-19, the video of George Floyd being so callously and cruelly murdered by a police officer was an even more vitriolic indictment of America and of the world, really. Millions around the world seem to have realized, as my father said, that “we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.” Law enforcement agencies, faith-based organizations and corporations are reaching out to Black leaders with a “What must I do to be saved?” type of response. Some corporations are providing tremendous resources to organizations that focus on social justice and racial equity. Other companies are looking at how to create a cultural climate conducive to establishing true racial equity, from the board room to C suites to supplier diversity. A number of law enforcement agencies are reexamining their policies. Some of these agencies have already started to reimagine what community engagement can and should look like beyond the act of policing and with the inclusion of concern for social services. I do believe that the reactions and responses this time are more widespread and passionate, with more white people than ever before joining in protest. If we unite further with focus on strategic goals, we will prove to be more productive for the cause of justice.
In addition to the “evident” racism that we see in such tragic situations, there is another form of “racism that does not make the news”: racism at work, in education, in living conditions. Covid-19 has affected the African-American community much more than the white community in the USA. How is it possible to defeat this “invisible” racism?
First, let me say that I believe people’s refusal to see is what makes systemic and institutional racism seem invisible. The more we want to see and the more we want to effectuate change, the more evident the destructive, dehumanizing nature of racism becomes. So, I think we defeat it first by refusing to turn a blind eye, by gathering information on the issues and by educating ourselves on the root causes and outcomes of racism. Information gathering and education are the 1st and 2nd steps of Nonviolent Social Change. Then, I think we have to commit to doing what my father describes as “our nettlesome task” in his book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? He said that we must “discover how to organize our strength into compelling power, so that the government [and other institutions and systems of power] cannot elude our demands.”
Fifty-seven years ago, your father pronounced the historic “I have dream” speech. This dream still seems a long way off, but everyone says it is a dream that cannot be renounced. What do you think your father would do today in a situation like the one we are now living?
I believe that my father would be guided by his philosophy of nonviolence, which corresponded with his following of Jesus Christ. I think he would remind us of how we arrived at this moment and of our history of violence, racism and injustice as a nation and as what he called a “World House.” The second thing he would do is come alongside young people to undergird their protest efforts with strategies that support organizing and mobilizing to effectuate sustainable nonviolent social change. He would put a demand on influencers in the sectors of politics, arts, media, entertainment, criminal justice, healthcare and education to ensure racial equity and justice. He would also put a demand on churches to align their professions of faith with works that create just and equitable circumstances for Black and Brown people, as well as for economically marginalized communities, not only in the United States, but around the world. And he would, as he often did while he was living, share that we cannot cure violence with violence, which he said is a descending spiral. Of course, I believe he would compel us to embrace nonviolence, which is strategic, courageous, love-centered and organized, in order to realize the Beloved Community, which includes the eradication of what he called the Triple Evils of racism, poverty, and militarism.
Pope Francis launched an appeal after George Floyd’s death. He said that we cannot close our eyes before racism. At the same time he recalled that violence only leads to self-destruction. How did you receive his words which are so in tune with your father’s?
I agree with Pope Francis that violence only leads to self-destruction. Our means must cohere with our desired end, and if that desired end is peace, we certainly cannot achieve peace with violent methods. This is aligned with my father’s beliefs, as well. He stated and believed, as do I, that “Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time.” In his last speech, I’ve Been To The Mountaintop, delivered the night before he was assassinated, he said, “It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.” That is still where we are today. We are facing a choice between chaos or community. If we embrace violence, we are thereby selecting chaos, which ultimately leads to self-destruction in our World House. If we embrace nonviolence, we will advance in building a more just, equitable, humane, and peaceful world.
Martin Luther King said: Justice “at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love”. This is the heart of the message about the nonviolence your father embodied. How can we build this “revolution of tenderness”, as Pope Francis calls it?
I think that building a “revolution of tenderness,” as Pope Francis called it, or a “revolution of values,” as my father said, is contingent upon us realizing that there’s learning involved in the revolution. We have to learn more about each other, learn more about the condition of humanity, learn how to, as my father said, “live together as brothers and sisters,” so that we don’t perish together as fools, and learn a way of engaging and destroying injustice and inhumanity without destroying each other. I believe that way is nonviolence. Kingian Nonviolence, which The King Center calls Nonviolence365™️, is the method of thinking and acting, inclusive of six principles and six steps, that can guide us in the revolution.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement is involving the whole world. Many people, especially young people, are protesting against racism and racial discrimination in many of Europe’s capitals, and in other countries. What are your hopes for the future? Do you think that we all will take a step forward in the challenge of human fraternity?
I am hopeful that we will harness our energy to focus on the ultimate goal of building the Beloved Community, which is not a utopia. As my mother, Coretta Scott King, said, “the Beloved Community is a realistic vision of an achievable society, one in which problems and conflict exist, but are resolved peacefully and without bitterness. In the Beloved Community, caring and compassion drive political policies that support the worldwide elimination of poverty and hunger and all forms of bigotry and violence.” If we have this mutual, powerful ultimate goal, I believe that we can travel the road of nonviolence to get there. We have the capacity and the rising passion to do that. Now, we must employ the will in our stride toward building the Beloved Community.
Submitted by: Father Philip Wilhite, Pastor Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School
Published: 23 June 2020
As a cradle Catholic, my take away about Stewardship was always centered around Time, Talent and Treasure.
Many have said the more you give, the more you receive. Based on my personal experience, I can say that I have felt the gratitude from giving of my time. Have you felt that gratitude as well when giving of your time? What a blessing you can be when giving. We are called to help the helpless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, protect the elderly and the list goes on. At the end of the day, we need to be aware of our COMMUNITY members and be empathetic to the needs of the COMMUNITY, whether it be a pandemic or hurricane or daily living needs.
God formed us and did not create us equal. This was purposefully planned. He gave us our own unique individual talents that are needed to take care of his church which expands into the COMMUNITY. With our God given talents, we are encouraged to use those talents to spread the knowledge of God to all those we encounter and provide for a better COMMUNITY of believers.
It is stated in the bible that we are to give back to God our first fruits. As stated in Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; Then will your barns be filled with plenty, with new wine your vats will overflow.” There are several other passages on tithing mentioned in different ways and I firmly believe when you give back your first fruits, God gives you more. First fruits can be equivalent to 10% of your income. It should be the first bill in your monthly allocation of expenditures to be paid and not the last. It can be spread to different organizations in your COMMUNITY and does not have to be given all to the church. If you have the ability to share more than 10% with those less fortunate, you will be blessed.
We cannot take care of our church and our COMMUNITY if we all do not give of ourselves in Time, Talents and Treasure. I hope you will take this to heart and truly give of yourself for the glory of God and his Kingdom. The Holy Spirit will guide you as to where you are most needed.
As stewards, we accept the fact that God owns everything, including us (see 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Chr 29:16). He tells us not to own but to manage things for Him—your COMMUNITY needs YOU!!!
Watch for future updates on how Your COMMUNITY needs YOU!!
Author: Carlotta Lansford
Published: 22 June 2020
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