Dare to Care - July 29th 2022

83. The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

Reflection: “All creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God.” Take time to reflect on this sentence and the paragraph that contains it. Look at these images from the Webb Telescope as part of your reflection. “The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God…” Sit in silence, gratitude, and amazement with the images. Journal about your reflections. 

Action: We must protect this beautiful and fragile universe. Take one concrete action to protect this tiny planet Earth by committing to promote and participate in the Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4) with others this year. Learn more about what Pope Francis calls us to in response to the planet “at its breaking point.” Share this with others. 

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

Never underestimate the power of music in finding hope. Joni Mitchell, the Canadian folk singer-songwriter, surprised an audience at the Newport Folk Festival on Sunday with a performance that inspired. Read about it here and listen here and this article on how Joni had to overcome a debilitating brain aneurysm in 2015 to get on stage again.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame have been inspiring hope in others, especially young people, for almost 200 years.  How do YOU inspire hope in others?

Deep faith and high courage urged Mother Theresa to risk already meager resources to satisfy needs wherever she was called. In her spirit we respond to God’s call expressed in our times. Like her, we educate in schools and in other areas of urgent need; like her, we exclude no one from our concern, but are especially sensitive to youth and women and are impelled to prefer the poor. (You Are Sent 24)

Partnership with Haiti

Read this report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Road blockade shatters resilience in southern Haiti.” Here’s the introduction: “In early June, a team from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Haiti conducted a field trip across the four departments of the country’s southern peninsula. Nearly a year after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and Hurricane Grace devastated the region, OCHA wanted to analyze the recovery progress and understand the current challenges people are dealing with. Over 14 days, the team drove almost 1,200 km to meet with communities and local organizations, and with workers and affected people receiving assistance from local, national and international NGOs.” Read the stories of those on the ground. This is why our SSND partnership with Haiti is so important!

Justice for Immigrants

Migrants are being intercepted, deported, denied entry, held in untenable situations and yet the numbers continue, fueled by desperation. This New York Times article looks at the multi-billion- dollar business of migrant smuggling on the US southern border. “Migrant smuggling on the U.S. southern border has evolved over the past 10 years from a scattered network of freelance “coyotes” into a multi-billion-dollar international business controlled by organized crime, including some of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.” Read more here.

Dismantling Racism

AP News PhotoReconciliation is a process, not a singular event, but every journey is a series of steps. Read news coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Canada and his apology for the church’s role in the abuse of indigenous children in schools largely run by the Catholic Church. “I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” he said on Monday. Watch the video of the live stream event of the apology here, which gives both commentary and context for the visit itself. We must listen and act and vow never again. Talk about this with others. 

At Lac Ste. Anne, thousands of people waited for hours in the sun for the pontiff’s arrival. As he travelled to the shore, the crowd of faithful strained to see him, with people calling out to him, “Father” And “Your Holiness.” Francis performed a blessing of the lake, then sat in silence looking out at the water. He then spent several minutes sprinkling the blessed water onto people lined up at the annual pilgrimage site. The entire article is here.

The Associated Press this week released an article about how the “Tuskegee Study” story broke, exposing a systematic and intentional use of more than 600 Black men for scientific research on syphilis over the course of forty years. Even if you think you know, take the time to read the article. This is not ancient history, but a story that broke just fifty years ago. Trust must be rebuilt. Easier said than done. 

Climate Change

Virtually no part of North America has been left untouched by record heat and worsening drought this summer. Even for those deep in denial about climate change, the evidence seems convincing. Toronto broke a 168-year record for heat. Fires burn out of control in many parts of the US West; listen to this eight minute clip from PBS News Weekend about the relationship of global climate change and these fires. As the climate changes, the natural environment changes; learn about the effects of climate change on the monarch butterfly. “All creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God.” (Laudato Si’ 83)

We cannot move forward alone on climate change. Pope Francis urges all leaders to take decisive action at upcoming United Nations environmental summits. Learn more here.
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

July 30th is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The theme this year is the “Use and Abuse of Technology.” Please consider leading or participating in  this prayer service, developed for the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, in solidarity with all those who suffer the indignities of trafficking in all its forms. SSND are one of more than 100 congregations of Catholic Sisters working together to end human trafficking. Learn more about Human Trafficking, including myths about human trafficking. And keep the focus on the EARN IT act with your Congressional representatives; learn more and contact your representatives here. 

Think that kids playing video games is always good innocent fun? Online exploitation of young people can begin with those “innocent” connections with others, some potentially posing as children themselves to set up an abusive relationship. Read more in this newsletter about “Online Gaming 101” and what to look for to protect our children. This might be a good handout in a parent packet for schools as well.

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