Presentation Sister Maura McCarthy, Dubuque
I never seem to pull it off very well! Jesus challenges us to love our adversaries. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, speak well of those who curse you, and pray for those who slander you.” (Lk.6: 27-28)
And I? And we? What happens now that the national elections are over, the debate stages are empty, but certainly not the issues and the controversies?
How can I find peace of soul and energy for life and love in the midst of the polemics that I intensely care about? How can I best accompany the immigrants from Mexico and Central America, who are largely undocumented? These are the folks who are so deeply concerned about their children and their life in this country. And what about the Muslims and other refugees who want to make this their country? Jesus never asked us to surrender our values. In fact, He died for His.
I personally have used Facebook to respond the antagonists of immigrants and refugees who share posts with careless verbiage and sometimes bad taste. This tactic does not demonstrate love. Can it possibly help their cause?
But I do believe the social media can be effective, as can telephone calls and marches in solidarity with persons threatened by violence, oppression, and tyranny. There are certainly best practices for all of the above.
Mahatma Gandhi was intensely aware that he needed to be enormously patient, firm of purpose, and never lose hope about overcoming the despotism of power. He expressed it thus:
I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the highest source in you. I salute that source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.
Joan Chittister reminds us in A Passion for Life that Mahatma Gandhi lit the way for many great figures/events such as Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Movement, Cesar Chavez and migrant workers, members of the peace movement, those who dismantled the Berlin Wall, the fall of the Marcos regime in the Philippines, and many more. Gandhi, himself, prompts us:
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end they always fall, think of it, always.
LCWR modeled for us a way of dealing with disapproval in the hierarchical Church that can be so helpful in dealing with the post-election political turmoil. Our LCWR leaders stood resilient by taking a non-aggressive and meditative stance. The cohesion of thousands of lay persons, of course, solidified the cause. Pope Francis, too, recognized the evangelical mysticism of these consecrated women of God.
Beatrice Bruteau in her introduction to Wayne Teasdale’s The Mystic Heart declares, “Nothing is more practical for realizing our desire for a better world than mysticism … What most of us now recognize as a ‘better’ world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect …” Who demonstrated the way better than Nano Nagle, the mystical woman of the lantern. This is the camino, the only way that I can perceive onward in these tempestuous times.