Dare to Care - December 31st 2021

New Year’s Day – World Day of Peace January 1 

It is said of some people that they were “born ahead of their time”, that the gifts they have/had would have been seen differently or used differently when the world was more accepting of those gifts. This is said of women, of artists, of members of minority groups, of saints. Part of the New York Times Obituaries is called “Overlooked No More” listing the obituaries of those whose contributions were “overlooked” at the time of their death because of gender, race, social status, or other issues that can make people invisible in their time. Jesus came to earth as a human child at a particular time in a particular place with a particular mission. He was born to young parents without means into a hostile world and only served in public ministry for three years before he was killed. We know nothing about him from about age twelve to thirty, important years for most of us in our own development. Jesus might well have been overlooked in the obituaries at the time, his full mission and purpose not immediately clear.

We too have each been born on this earth at a particular time in a particular place with a particular mission. On this World Day of Peace 2022, Pope Francis calls us each to an “art of peace” that involves dialogue, education, and work as the paths to this peace. He writes: “In every age, peace is both a gift from on high and the fruit of a shared commitment. Indeed, we can speak of an “architecture” of peace, to which different institutions of society contribute, and an “art” of peace that directly involves each one of us. All can work together to build a more peaceful world, starting from the hearts of individuals and relationships in the family, then within society and with the environment, and all the way up to relationships between peoples and nations. Here I wish to propose three paths for building a lasting peace. First, dialogue between generations as the basis for the realization of shared projects. Second, education as a factor of freedom, responsibility, and development. Finally, labor as a means for the full realization of human dignity. These are three indispensable elements for “making possible the creation of a social covenant”, without which every project of peace turns out to be insubstantial.” Our work, our mission, is not done. 

As we begin this new year of 2022, how might we commit ourselves to the work of justice, peace and the integrity of creation? How might we personally and communally commit ourselves to dialogue, particularly intergenerationally, on the challenging issues of integral ecology? How might we continue to hold up education, as the SSNDs have done from their inception, as the path to “freedom, responsibility, and development”? How might we advocate for meaningful human work for all as a path toward the “full realization of human dignity”? One life. That’s all we have. I ask with Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” 

Happy New Year – may God bless us all with the strength and courage to live out our particular mission for the sake of God’s world. 

Laudato Si’ quote

201. The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers. This should spur religions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity. Dialogue among the various sciences is likewise needed, since each can tend to become enclosed in its own language, while specialization leads to a certain isolation and the absolutization of its own field of knowledge. This prevents us from confronting environmental problems effectively. An open and respectful dialogue is also needed between the various ecological movements, among which ideological conflicts are not infrequently encountered. The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which demands patience, self-discipline and generosity, always keeping in mind that “realities are greater than ideas”. 

For Reflection

  • With whom might I begin to dialogue in 2022 to remind me that “realities are greater than ideas”?
  • If I am not currently in a dialogue that is intergenerational, how might I invite such a dialogue?
  • How might my prayer life be intentional in providing the grounding of this commitment to dialogue?
  • What will I do with my one precious life in 2022?

Prayer

(adapted from World Day of  Peace message)

God of All Creation,
Give us the strength to walk together with courage and creativity on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education, and work.
May we strive daily, with quiet humility and courage, to be artisans of peace. May we be inspired to act for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in 2022, accompanied by the blessings of the God of peace.
In Your Holy Name we pray, Amen. 

Actions

  • Commit to following one of the AMSSND committees in Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, and consider being part of their work. 
  • Read the entire World Day of Peace 2022 message here
  • Engage in a conversation with someone of another generation, and really listen to what they have to offer, how they understand the issues that face us in the world and in the church, without needing to “fix” their opinions. 
  • Commit to writing at least one letter a month in 2022 to civic and/or church leaders about issues that must be addressed to make the world more just, peaceful, and sustainable. 
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