As we experience a world emerging, facing and living into the challenges posed by pandemic, economic turmoil, wars, migration, systemic racism and mounting ecological crises, we still hear God's voice clearly and quietly say, "here is another opportunity for you to create beloved community and to assist at the birth and transformation to a more just and compassionate world." I like to think of Leonard Cohen's beautiful phrase, "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot." If you don't believe in magic, then say "miracles are afoot." The phrase is from a poem that appears in Leonard Cohen's 1966 novel, Beautiful Losers. Midway trough the novel, a short section of about 400 words which some say are the best Cohen ever wrote explaining God's magic and miracle.
Of course God is always moving. Over, under, around and through us. And "justice rolls down like waters..."
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me and before me.
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in hearts of all who know me.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger,
Christ in quiet and in roar.
Love, blessed Trinity of three,
Bound in unity
Who guides my journey.
I will arise with strength of heaven
Trusting in Your light
To guide my journey
Shine before me
Lead me home.
Power to guide me, might to hold me,
Wisdom teach me, watching o’er me.
Ear to hear me, hand to guard me,
Love to conquer every fear.
Attr. St. Patrick
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."
Scott Wright is the Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
The Journey of Hope: A Meditation on War and Peace
"...Fast forward to today, and we find the children and grandchildren of these same refugees, and others like them, literally camped out in the cold and rain under plastic tarps, at the foot of a bridge in Mexico, waiting to make their claim to asylum in the U.S. This is the reality I saw on Thanksgiving Day, 2019, as I visited the Columban Mission in Juarez and El Paso. We have forgotten Pope Francis’ invitation, when he visited this border in 2016, to “build bridges, not walls.” We have become a nation of immigrants who has forgotten the dream of our ancestors...
Pope Francis’ recent World Day of Peace message is a reminder of how “the desire for peace lies deep within the human heart.” Like the Salvadoran refugee mother and those families camped out today on our southern border, we too bear deep within us both the wounds of war and the desire for peace."
Read Scott's beautiful reflection here
"We commemorated the 10th Anniversary of the earthquake that killed 250,000 people and displaced from 1.5 to 3 million people on the 12th of January. We, however, still feel the aftershocks of the disaster....
Life is fragile in Haiti, no doubt. The desperation can make you bend toward ruthlessness like exploiting the weak or it can make you bend towards solidarity and kindness. I want to make sure that my heart, and I pray that yours, bends towards the side of Christ..." .
Read Fr. Hugo's reflection here
"In reality, rather than abstract and singular suffering, we encounter concrete suffering in men and women: we see sickness reflected in their faces and bodies. I can never forget the women crying for the losses of their children especially when they know that the child could have been saved were it not for the lack of roads or of means of transportation or of money that made them arrive too late to the hospital. They roll themselves on the ground in mourning, and their voices transform into a sorrowful refrain of “God: why?”
Fr. Enzo offers this reflection for us as we find ourselves confronted with and engaging another person's pain and illness. He says, "In sickness all relationships, with oneself, with others, with things and with God, undergo a profound change." It transforms us. "We may not know the patient we visit but we do know that it is ultimately the Christ we are helping."
Click here for Fr. Enzo's reflection