The past two weeks my emotions have ranged from unbelief to anger to deep sadness after the inhumane murder of George Floyd. It awakened within me the need to educate myself and not remain as a bystander. It is not enough for me to say “I am not racist”. I have to stand against racism in all forms and be “Anti-racist”. To all the people that are hurting, especially our black brothers and sisters, I stand with you and support your right to be seen and heard. George Floyd’s death was not just a terrible incident or action of police brutality, it is a wakeup call for our entire nation that we must stop this evil of systemic racism. We do this through our voices and actions and by our prayers of discernment on the best way to do our individual parts. I have come to understand that silence and inaction equal apathy and at worst, consent. This reminds me of what Edmund Burke said in the 1700’s. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”.
We must listen and learn from each other, and together fight injustice, inequality and discrimination. We are all needed to effect a change and show our solidarity for those who are suffering. I invite us all to reflect upon the greatest commandment that Jesus gave us. “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is why we were created: love upward and inward toward God and outward toward all humankind and all of creation. When we grow to love God more, we develop that heart for all others that God has. Loving other people fully means seeing them as God sees them. Our society, once again, is at a tipping point, that demands transformation.
Lord, please have mercy on us all and give us understanding, wisdom and courage to each take our place in this urgent work of healing, love and justice for all.
The Feast of the Ascension that we celebrated last Sunday is considered the crowning event and completion of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The disciples were instructed to wait for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit who would enable them and empower them to continue Jesus’ mission. The week leading up to Pentecost was a time of remembrance of everything Jesus taught them and commissioned them to do. They reflected together, encouraged each other and anticipated what their unknown future as followers and disciples would mean now. As we wait, what do we do to prepare for Pentecost?
Pentecost literally means “fiftieth day”. For ancient Israel this was the Feast of the Giving of the Law to God’s people on Mount Sinai. For Christians the Feast of Pentecost celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit given to all, so that we can live according to the full spirit of the law and in turn reveal the truth and depth of the relationship God invites each of us into. We have been given all we need to live out our commission of transforming the world into the kingdom of God. If this is true, then why do we just continue to rely on our own natural gifts and abilities, rather than access all the divine gifts within us to accomplish the mission we have been given?
For those who work in ministry, it is easy (especially in a time of a global pandemic) to lose ourselves in trying to be present to those we have been called to minister to. That could be a parish, a family, a community, a person, a project, a parent…etc. We cannot lose sight of our RESPONSIBILITY to care for ourselves too. We cannot fully embrace the call inside of us, and the souls in front of us if we neglect our own nourishment.
Spiritual direction is like having a great massage; a massage of your soul. It can be a little uncomfortable and at times painful, but you come out renewed, refreshed and re-energized.