Dare to Care - July 15th 2022

81. Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and is capable of entering into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inventive, to interpret reality and to create art, along with other not yet discovered capacities, are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology. The sheer novelty involved in the emergence of a personal being within a material universe presupposes a direct action of God and a particular call to life and to relationship on the part of a “Thou” who addresses himself to another “thou”. The biblical accounts of creation invite us to see each human being as a subject who can never be reduced to the status of an object.

Reflection: Reflect on the uniqueness of being human in a way that “transcends the spheres of physics and biology.” What does this mean to you? How do you experience being called by God to relationship. “Thou…to another thou”? The philosopher Martin Buber suggests that when we live our relationships with others as “I – Thou” we will never be able to reduce other human beings to “the status of an object.” What would that mean as you reflect on the SSND JPIC issues of immigration and dismantling racism? Journal on these questions as you reflect. Share your thoughts, feelings, and questions with others. 

Action: Think of one human relationship that calls you to “see each human being as a subject who can never be reduced to the status of an object.” Perhaps a political figure, or a family or community member who is challenging to be around or to think about. How might you enter into dialogue with God and/or with others about this relationship that honors the uniqueness and oneness of humanity?

Spaces of Hope

Certainly hope is very necessary for us in our exile, it's what consoles us on the journey. When the traveler, after all, finds it wearisome walking along, he puts up with the fatigue precisely because he hopes to arrive. Rob him of any hope of arriving, and straightaway his strength is broken for walking. So the hope also which we have here, is part and parcel of the justice of our exile and our journey.    Saint Augustine   Sermon 158, 8

July 22 is the Feast of Mary Magdalene; take the time to listen to this lecture on Mary of Magdala by Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ. Her lecture begins at 14:03. Watch it with someone else and discuss it.

Find hope in these beautifully done new videos from the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center, “Reflections on Water” (38 minutes) and “Grounded: Connections to Climate” (34 minutes).

Justice for Immigrants

Watch “Welcome the Stranger” a two-minute video which talks about the work of welcome of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. What action does this call you to? Share this with someone else and talk about it. 

It took ten months to determine that the treatment of Haitian migrants by border agents in Del Rio, Texas was wrong and an “unnecessary” use of force. Disciplinary action will be taken with four agents, and “miscommunication” is largely blamed for what happened. Read this about the 500 page report released last week by the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility. We cannot forget; we must act. 

Dismantling Racism

Part of dismantling racism is learning more about the historical relationship of the institutional church and Black and Brown people, particularly in missionary activity. Consider watching this academic lecture by Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, in which he powerfully describes his own conversion to Catholicism, the deep faith of his family and ancestors, and the life-giving hope in embracing all of it. Invite others to watch it and discuss it. 

The Passionist Earth and Spirit Center is offering “Tools for Conversations about Racial Justice,” a two-part workshop on nonviolent/compassionate communication (NVC) on Zoom July 19 and 26 from 10 am- noon. The workshop is ordinarily $80 but is being offered for free! For more information and registration, read here

Climate Change

Wonder can be the first step to ecological conversion. Read the article and look at this first image from the Webb Space Telescope, and wonder at the genius of the Creator – the light from the galaxies shown is 4.6 billion years old! As you reflect on the image, take a moment to let it all sink in.

Commit yourself to watching all the parts of “The Story of Stuff” series on Solving Plastic. It is easy to understand and lends itself to good conversations about actions you can take. Also, 
consider participating in “Plastic Free July” – it will, at the very least, help you to realize how much single use plastics are in your life. Every step in the right direction is a step in the right direction!

All change begins with one small step. Commit yourself to reading the Laudato Si’ reflection each week. One paragraph at a time you can stop and reflect on what we are all called to as a Laudato Si’ community! Share some of the parts of the newsletter with others who might not otherwise consider these issues. 

End Human Trafficking

“Thousands of children under the age of 18, some as young as eight or nine years old, are recruited and used in armed conflicts worldwide.” Read this month’s issue of the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) newsletter about the exploitation of children in armed conflict. Share it with others and discuss it. 

Summer has more young people than ever tethered to their electronic devices. It is up to adults to keep them safe on the internet, just as we try to keep them safe from all other dangers. Internet Safety 101 from Enough is Enough offers excellent resources and tips for teachers, parents, family members, and concerned adults. Read it now, and share it with others you care about!

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