90. This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility. Such notions would end up creating new imbalances which would deflect us from the reality which challenges us. At times we see an obsession with denying any pre-eminence to the human person; more zeal is shown in protecting other species than in defending the dignity which all human beings share in equal measure. Certainly, we should be concerned lest other living beings be treated irresponsibly. But we should be particularly indignant at the enormous inequalities in our midst, whereby we continue to tolerate some considering themselves more worthy than others. We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet. In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights.
Reflection: This paragraph reminds us that we should be “particularly indignant” that we tolerate some people being treated with more dignity than others based on possessions, wealth, and privilege. In what ways do I tolerate (allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one does not necessarily like or agree with without interference – Oxford Dictionary) treating some people with much more dignity than others? In what ways do I participate in this culture of privilege, by my choices, by my personal and professional associations both in the Church and beyond? Reflect in silence on these questions and journal with your prayer and reflection.
Action: Make a conscious effort this week to see the ways in which we participate in a culture of privilege, where some are granted more dignity than others. In one significant way this week, in your words or actions, do not tolerate such privilege.
Season of Creation
For full resources on the Season of Creation click here. Consider this SSND International Solidarity Reflection prayer service for your local community, school, or ministry during this Season of Creation. For a beautiful liturgical guide that’s easy to use and access, click here. The Friday newsletter and this webpage, will offer short pieces on a theme each week for the five weeks of Season of Creation, to include education, contemplation, and action.
Spaces of Hope
Vocation: It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work one is called to by God.
There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Super-ego, or Self-Interest. By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you've presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you've missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you're bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren't helping your patients much either. Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. – Frederick Buechner
Christian conversion requires new thinking and new living, a continual change of mind and heart as individuals and as community. Our call to conversion and our response find expression in…. courageous coping with insecurities and fears (19); attempts to alleviate human suffering, especially that of the poor (20); the promotion of justice and peace (20). We struggle to live by the conviction that love is, indeed, the fulfillment of the law. (You Are Sent 51a, 19-21; 51b)
Justice for Immigrants
“According to the Pew Research Center, 1.8 million migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border were expelled between April 2020, the first full month under Title 42, and March 2022, the latest month with available data. From October 2021 to March of this year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection expelled 118,804 migrants in Arizona alone.” Sister Judy Bourg, SSND, lives and works at the Arizona border. Read more here. And learn more here about the Arizona desert crossings. Consider human dignity, that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and is due dignity because of their creation. Dignity is not earned; the right to dignity is God-given.
Dismantling racism demands not only ongoing personal conversion but engagement with the structures of racism as well. Read or listen to this NPR interview this week with Dr. Nathan Connolly and Dr. Shani Mott, both on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, and their experience of racial bias in the real estate market. The Laudato Si’ quote this week (#90) reminds us that dignity is not reserved for some human beings over others. Share this interview with others and discuss it.
Future Church lead an amazing four week seminar on the book Subversive Habits, and the last week was lead by the author, Shannen Dee Williams. Even if you have not read the book or were able to attend the series, please watch this video of that last session, and talk to someone about it when you are done.
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
Partnership with Haiti
Our prayers continue for the people of Haiti as they struggle for peace. Staff members of Beyond Borders in Port-au-Prince are going to Lagonav to safely be able to work. Commit to continue learning about the current situation in Haiti, and add Haiti and the Beyond Borders staff to your litany of daily prayer.
Gospel Fund Announcement
The Gospel Fund of the Atlantic-Midwest Province is established for the purpose of assisting in the financing of projects whose goals are consistent with the SSND congregational mandate to reverence all creation and make the concerns of the poor our own. The next funding cycle is open for new applications until October 1, 2022. For full information and to access the online application form, click here.