Presentation Sister Lorraine Schmaltz, Union of Presentation Sisters: US Province
The political and social unrest in our country since the elections has caused much confusion, distrust, uncertainty, anger and also energized persons to act and to speak with strong voices for justice for all peoples: citizens, refugees, immigrants, and the powerless.
What can I do? How can I make this a better world? Listen! Listen! To whom? Nano Nagle inspired us, “If I could be of service in any part of the world, I would do all in my power.” Pope Francis, recently after the travel ban baring entry of some people into the US, encouraged people to ‘build bridges’ not ‘walls’ and to combat the evil and bad with good. It is a ‘good’ to march with refugees to affirm their gifted presence in the community. A ‘good’ to call and write to congress persons to vote for what is just and right. A ‘good’ to help the homeless, work in food pantries, and respond to the needs close to me. Where do I find the vision, grace and strength to do this ‘good’? Pondering “The Occasional Papers” recent articles focusing on the need for contemplative prayer and the wisdom of authors Brian J. Pierce OP and Mary Jo Leddy, I offer my reflections on how to be a vessel of ‘good,’ to be an instrument of peace.
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” (Thanks to St. Francis) Peace is the spark of God’s love that begins within me, that light when aflame, lights the path to peace in and around me and out to others. How do I come to inner peace when all around me is strife and dissatisfaction? Recent readings have invited me to a more contemplative form of prayer, ’to take a long loving look.’ I have pondered again and again that ‘I am the Beloved of God. Born of God. God continues to gaze lovingly on me. God is with me, in me, for me. We are the Beloved, filled with the divine energy of Love.’ (Thanks to Brian J. Pierce OP in “Jesus and the Prodigal Son”). To be so loved calls me to gratitude, to what Mary Jo Leddy calls an ‘ATTITUDE OF RADICAL GRATITUDE’ in her book “Radical Gratitude.” When gratitude is my primary response to life, as all I am and all I have has been given to me-FREE, then I will come to cherish everything and everyone as gift. EVERYONE COUNTS so I dare not take any gift, talent, person, creature, nature or the universe for granted.
Faithfulness to prayer, developing an attitude of Radical Gratitude, being in community with others fired with the Divine Energy and embracing the Creative Power activated by a love relationship with God, empowers us to live with purpose and meaning. When I am in relationship with God, there is an energy for the good, which belongs neither to me or to God but which happens when we are one. Let us take down our lanterns and with grateful flaming hearts walk the walk doing good. That’s where I need to begin.