Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
At the UN, we met with a panel at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. The panel was entitled, "The Spirituality of Politics: A Religious and Social View." The participants of this panel were: Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Elmira Nazombe, Co-Executive Secretary for Racial Justice of the Women’s Division, responsible for assisting United Methodist Women through the development of advocacy strategies and biblical and theological reflection materials on racial justice; and James Edward Jones, Associate Professor of World Religions and African Studies at Mahattanville College, Purchase, NY, whose personal and professional work has been focused on conflict resolution within families, communities, and across national and cultural boundaries. As can be seen from these wonderful people the panel was extremely interesting. Each person encouraged us to think of the common good as visioning people made in the image and likeness of God, developing the community itself, looking to provide health, food, clothing, etc., searching for peace, practicing compassion, and balancing “which allows us to negotiate the multifaceted nature of our lives without sacrificing our most cherished goals and ideals”.
A beautiful Saturday dawned with the participants convening for a panel and questioning time with Dr. Barbara Wall, PhD and Sister Pat Sieman, OP, JD. Summarizing the prior three days, all of the participants felt they were sent home in the power of the Spirit with renewed vigor, courage, hope, and fire for the kingdom of God.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The keynote for Friday, entitled "The Spiritualit of Politics: An Ecological and Legal View," was given by Dominican Sister Pat Sieman, JD. Sister Pat is the director of the Center of Earth Jurisprudence. The mission of this group is to re-envision law and governance in ways that support and protect the well-being of the entire Earth community. In her talk, Sister Pat pointed out that we are living in a time of great urgency. To describe this urgency, Sister spoke of “tipping points” which are slow, gradual changes that becomes irreversible and then proceed with gathering pace. It is derived from the example of a rigid solid object being lifted to a point where it begins to topple.
A spirituality of politics that is most needed to deal with this is one that begins with knowing oneself and the ability to let go of control of a situation, especially in the face of fear. The second practice is to develop an awareness and experience of belonging to a single, interconnected and interdependent, community of being. It is this sense of belonging to a larger reality that can be a source of great hope and creativity. We are not alone; the other members of the world community support and sustain us.
We humans have caused the climate change, build-up of toxic chemicals in the environment and their accumulate effect. We must take seriously the environmental fragility, become aware of the failing civilizations in our world, establish relations with them, and vote for quality political leadership and the social responses to challenges.
Sister Pat closed with practical solutions for religious communities, namely:
- Those communities entrusted with land should create land trusts to be protected for generations;
- We need to ask ourselves, “How much financial security do we need?” Are we supporting youth for the good of the whole – whether or not they are entering our communities?
- Spend time with the arts and nature; and
- Share Eucharist in all ways.
After a break, we boarded buses bound for the U. S. Mission connected with the UN. The US Representatives to the United Nations met with us to discuss our hopes and concerns regarding the US/UN political systems.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008, marked the beginning of a three-day conference sponsored by the NGO group called the Partnership for Global Justice held at Xavier Center on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s College in Convent Station, NJ. Religious women and men, and associates from various communities all over the country as well as Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines gathered for this examination of politics at its deepest level of serving the needs of peoples and Earth as we choose leaders for the 21st century.
After the welcome, opening prayer, and introductions, the keynote speaker, Dr. Barbara Wall, PhD from Villanova University gave a very insightful talk entitled, "The Spirituality of Politics: a Philosophical View." In this analysis she spoke of three concepts that intersect in the title of the conference: Spirituality, Politics and Common Good. With these in mind, she pointed out that the human person is integral to the community and vice versa. Integral to the human person is the understanding that s/he is understood as social (needing community) and political. Quoting from Gaudium et Spes (n. 35), she asked us to think about an evaluation of the common good by looking at the quality of life of the least among us, including the environment. We looked at the common good as “power.” Dr. Wall encouraged us to help our “world” see how to avoid the destructive use of power and domination: “Recognize that within each of us there is the possibility of being seduced by forms of destructive power; be on the watch for competition directed solely at winning and relationships that can be characterized as adversarial; turn off the chatter and artificial stimulants; develop the skill of interior silences; unmask the desire for domination, reflect on our own prejudices, biases and at times hatred of one another; and learn about issues.” She also encouraged us to “develop proficiency by: desiring to know and love the world, learning skills essential to the spiritual life, studying issues, promoting a desire for community, and practice hope.” Needless to say, all participants were challenged and encouraged to keep hope.
That evening, Dave Robinson, the executive director of Pax Christi USA, spoke about the works and philosophy of Pax Christi. Mr. Robinson encouraged everyone to have a spirituality of vulnerability by “putting our hands in the wounds”, have contact with people who are suffering, and see vulnerability with a positive attitude. Also, “We must live simply so others can simply live.”
Stay tuned for Part Two!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Ecoogler is a search engine that uses Yahoo technology and helps reforesting trees and safeguard water resources in the Amazon region, which constitute today one fourth of the fresh water reserves of our planet. For every search in Ecoogler, you contribute symbolically to reforest one leaf. For every 10,000 searches, Ecoogler and Aquaverde plant a tree in the Amazon. Check it out at www.ecoogler.com and help to plant trees!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The vigil will include a testimonial from a victim of human trafficking and a variety of opportunities to learn more about the problem of human trafficking in our communities.
Consider attending this vigil and help to spread the word!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"As we pray in solidarity with the people of Myanmar , if anyone would like to make donations for the relief effort, donations gathered by GS across the world will be sent by bank transfer through the Good Shepherd Generalate directly to our sisters in the disaster zone. I have no doubt it will be used directly for basic relief of food water and shelter. We may not obtain much information however, communication being difficult in the best of times."
Donations may be sent to:
Sister Clare Nolan
211 East 43rd St. , Rm 302,
New York , NY 10017
Make checks payable to Sisters of the Good Shepherd and note that the donation is for "Myanmar Relief."
Sister Clare will send the money to the Generalate.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Based on the writings and words of Martin Luther King
1. Nonviolence offers a way of life for courageous people. It is passive physically, but
strongly active spiritually. It is no passive nonresistance to evil; it is active nonviolent
resistance to evil.
2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. Nonviolence uncovers and
builds up the beloved community of humanity. As the way of God, it redeems, reconciles,
and leads us to nonviolent Kindom of God on earth.
3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. It looks on evildoers as themselves
victims, rather than as evil people. Nonviolence recognizes that every human being sins,
that every human being does evil, that every human being commits violence. Active
nonviolence seeks to halt evil and to heal the human family.
4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence struggles
actively for justice and peace, but instead of inflicting violence and death on others, it
accepts suffering without retaliation. In the nonviolent way of life, we refrain from
violence, no matter how just the cause. We never inflict violence on others or ever
advocate it, but if necessary, we suffer it with redemptive love that seeks to open the
eyes of our opponent to the truth of justice and peace. Redemptive suffering love, which
insists on justice and peace, is the doorway to conversion and transformation.
5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. It resists violence of the spirit as well as of
the body. This love flows spontaneously, unselfishly, creatively, sacrificially and
unconditionally. Active nonviolent love risks a return of hostility. Such active love never
ceases to forgive but continues to insist on the beloved community of humanity.
Nonviolence recognizes that all life is interrelated, that all is one. Love, agape, is the
only cement that can hold the broken community together. When I am commanded to
love, I am commanded to restore community, to resist injustice and to meet the needs of
my brothers and sisters.
6. Nonviolence is a way of live that flows from a deep belief that the universe stands on
the side of justice. One who practices nonviolence knows that God reigns, that God is nonviolent, that God’s reign is a reign of nonviolence, and that God’s way of nonviolence
will eventually transform everyone into God’s Kindom of justice and peace. The universe itself bends toward justice. The deepest meaning in life is to side with God in God’s nonviolent transformation of the world into a Kindom of justice and peace.
“Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” -Mohandas K. Gandhi
Friday, May 9, 2008
John Dear, SJ uses Mary's Annunciation, Visitation, and Magnificat to paint portraits of "Mary and Contemplative Nonviolence," "Mary and Active Nonviolence," and "Mary and Prophetic Nonviolence." Perhaps on this 8th day of our peaceful observance, we could take time to re-visit this book.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
O God, you are the source
of life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn
our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of war.
Your power changes hearts.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember,
and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.
Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live.
Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
Mercy that quenches hatred; and
Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.
Empower all people to live in your law of love.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
by Joan D. Chittister, OSB