That is why someone said at a recent meeting (on Zoom of course) that we are not working to protect the planet “in order to maintain the lifestyle that we have” but to “create a system and a society where it is possible to live with integrity”.
The human race needs to live in the green space in the ‘donut’, above the social floor or ‘foundation’, but within environmental limits or ‘ceiling’
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The Laudato Si' Vision Fulfillment Team has been busy working to engage Holy Cross Province following the call of Pope Francis to create a culture of sustainability, care of the earth and integral ecology for all. Team Co-Chair, Lissa Rommel sent the following reflection as part of an update for the province. The PSN is a strong supporter of this initiative and urges everyone in the North American Passionist Family to dig deeply into the beauty and powerful call of Laudato Si'.
"...the beautiful thing is, we, as a Passionist family, are already in motion, already responding to Pope Francis’s call to “hear the cry of the Earth” and the 'cry of the poor.' From the rain garden at St. Paul of the Cross in Detroit to the food ministry at Mater Dolorosa in California to the Waking Up Conversations on Race on Zoom, we have been engaged in reading the 'signs of the times' and actively birthing together what the Laudato Si’ Anniversary website describes as 'a new way of living together, bonded together in love, compassion and solidarity, and a more harmonious relationship with the natural world' and each other.
"This ultimately is the charge of Laudato Si’—from the Pope, from the General, and from our Provincial. To remain rooted in the love of Christ crucified. To be prophets of this love. From this, all action flows. ... And we, on the Laudato Si’ Vision Fulfillment Team, offer ourselves as yeast and a resource for the Passionist family, individually and collectively, to meet this charge—and are grateful for the opportunity." Read Lissa's full reflection here.
Image credit: International Civil Society
There is much to console the Passionist Family including our charism, our community and our deep hope that rises from them. As for hope, it is for me, as Howard Zinn has expressed: "to be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
“By the tragic gap I mean the gap between the hard realities around us and what we know is possible — not because we wish it were so, but because we’ve seen it with The world needs each of us to continue our vigilance for social justice as we move into this new year with some anxieties and fears--standing in the tragic gap. Because we know that as Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Last fall, The Passionist Solidarity Network offered 4 sessions of “circle” gatherings for the Passionist Family to engage in conversations about racial justice. 33 people registered and participated during impactful 90 minute sessions. Anchored with prayer and reflection, sessions also incorporated spoken word, music and video as we confronted the historical foundations of the culture of whiteness. It was a safe-space for deep listening and speaking our truths. Resource materials between sessions stressed taking small steps toward personal change and action ending with the questions “How do we move forward from here?” “How do we stay in motion?” Read the report from this discussion series here
The PSN hopes this conversation will be continued by each of the individuals who participated who have learned more about the issues and feel more comfortable talking about race in their own circles. In terms of the larger Passionist Family, we want to help make sure that a racial justice lens is used whether we are working with Ladauto Si' programming or with our retreat, governance and committee work. We are encouraged to help the provinces look more to becoming a committed anti-racist organization. For a peek as to what that involves (and it is a long process and commitment) read Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization, a document developed by Crossroads Ministry in Chicago and further adapted.
Our faith is an important lens through which to analyze the realities of race and white privilege. The Passionist Charism leads us to ponder these "signs of the times" and respond to Christ crucified in our society.
An open letter to George Floyd, Fr. Jim O'Shea
Provincial letter about racial justice, Fr. Jim O'Shea
See reflections and articles on racial reckoning - Summer and Fall 2020 from vowed and lay members of the Passionist Family including the Passionist Solidarity Network Board and others.
A list of resources compiled by the Ignatian Solidarity Network with a focus on connecting our Faith with learning and struggling with issues of racial justice and white privilege. They are resources from a Catholic, Jesuit perspective.
Action Resources for White Faith Leaders from the organization Showing Up for Racial justice
Dismantling Racism from the UME Church
Resource for hosting a racial justice conversation from Presbyterian Church USA. Other racial justice and anti racism resources are here and here.
Image: Catholic Sentinel