When the dark powers seem to be winning, our impulses tell us to get angry, fight back, win the argument of the day. As human as such reactions may seem, there is a stronger, more profound response necessary: that we respect our opponent, pray for our enemy and speak truth with love. And again, this can only happen with prayer.
Jim Wayne is a member of the JPIC Committee and is retiring from nearly 30 years of service as a Kentucky legislature where he was a tireless witness for peace, justice and a moral public policy.
The instant-news overload wears on the most serene among us. The slaughter of high schoolers, the weeping Syrian mothers bent over the stilled bodies of their children, the lies pouring out of Washington, the rising rate of poverty among American families, the barking threats of world leaders pushing the world to nuclear destruction, the environment growing more deadly each day and the severe tribalism around the globe can deplete hope in the most faith-filled among us.
As followers of the Gospel, our immediate response to news of suffering and destruction must be to turn to prayer. It is in prayer that we reconnect to our center: Christ living within us. In our deepest centers we find serenity, confidence and hope. It is from prayer… in our quiet moments focused on God, in our rooms with our doors closed…that answers and actions form. In prayer we discern, as best we can, the will of God. In prayer we decide which actions fit our life and circumstance for our moment in history.
Joe talks with Kyle Kramer about his spiritual journey, which has led him deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, into the pain and violence of inner city Louisville where he and his wife Anne make their home, and in all of this, into the heart of our beautiful, wounded world.
Joe Grant is a native of Scotland and is a modern-day mystic, a blogger, and the author of numerous books and articles about scripture, justice and spirituality. Prior to moving to Louisville 25 years ago, Joe worked with indigenous peoples of the U.S. and in Latin America. His work has been rooted in the Catholic Christian tradition, but his sensibilities are deeply interdenominational and interfaith. Joe spends his time writing, leading retreats, and offering spiritual guidance. His latest book, Scratchings: Poems and More is available here. An earlier book, Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace is published by Franciscan Media. His website is https://engagedpresence.org/.
Listen to Joe Grant - The Duty of Delight February 27, 2020
The Passionist Earth & Spirit Podcasts explores the intertwining of contemplative spirituality, ecology and social healing through dialogue with people who are rooted in a deep sense of place. Our conversation partners defy neat labels as they weave their vocations, activism and spirituality into unique stories of what it’s like to live an engaged life in whatever community they call home. By grounding the spiritual in particular places, people, and projects, we hope to transcend the abstract and faceless to uncover tangible and translatable insights that listeners can apply in their own communities. Listen on NPR Podcasts.
Heroes are people who do ordinary things--
care for the poor, speak the truth, reject evil, love God--
to an extraordinary degree.
These men and women are so possessed
by an internal vision of divine goodness
that they give us a glimpse of the face of God
in the center of the human.
They give us a taste of the possibilities of the greatness
Throughout history these heroes--
lay and religious, male and female, Christian and non-Christian--
have stretched the very soul of humanity.
These are figures
gleaming in their holy causes
who have lived in circumstances similar to ours
and have shown us how to live
with character, with courage, with passion
for the right, the true, the holy.
They hold a fire in their hearts
bright enough to light the way for many.
They stand on gilded stilts
above the rest of their generation
and become a sign for all generations.
They are proof of possibility from ages past
and a symbol of hope
for ages yet to come.
Their lives provoke and prod
a critical measure of our own
until it becomes clear that sanctity
is simply a matter of living for the reign of God
with conscience, with voice, and with authenticity
—from A Fire in Their Hearts: 2016 Joan Chittister Calendar.
Image: KONSTANTIN AKIMOV iStock