Have you been following the situation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the LCWR, as they deal with the Vatican’s attempt to control them? It has been very reminiscent of our situation at Corpus Christi in the fall of 1998. They have risen to the occasion and are presenting their best, Spirit-filled, wise selves. Last week they had their annual assembly, and their outgoing leader, Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, gave a talk in which she outlined six tools used by those in religious life through the centuries as they respond to a God who is “calling to us from the future.” Her list of tools resonates with me as I think about St Romero’s, and especially our migrant ministry. I believe it would ring true for anyone stumbling along after Jesus, shouting “Yes!”
Sr. Pat’s list (the comments are mine):
1. Contemplation: our Yes to God that leads us to go out and heal, to change the world, must be rooted in prayer. It is in prayer that I hear God telling me to quit worrying about the future, and to just keep showing up. Prayer binds up our wounds and keeps us close to the source, gives us nourishment and clarity and joy.
2. A “prophetic voice”: Sometimes the most courageous thing is simply to name the truth. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “The church's task is not simply to bind up the wounds of the victim beneath the wheel, but also to put a spoke in the wheel itself.” Did you ever do that, maybe to a bicycle wheel when you were a kid? Did you see what happened to the thing you put in the wheel? This is why prayer is #1 on this list. Prayer often leads to resistance; and the courage to resist often comes from prayer.
3. Through “solidarity with the marginalized”: Shane Claiborne said that the world is desperately in need of people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.” I say amen to that. There are things you just can’t know unless you are in relationship with people. It is one thing to hear that migrant workers need a change in the farm labor laws. It is something else to see people you love working seven days a week, packaging vegetables while standing on their feet until 9:30 every night except Sunday, when they are let go at 6 so they have a few hours to do their grocery shopping and wash their clothes. I’m told this will last at least until October. It is one thing to read about deplorable living conditions, and another to see your friends covered with bedbug bites and to sit in their sweltering home watching bugs run all over the walls while you eat. Oscar Romero spoke of sharing the same fate as the poor. When we are truly in solidarity, we suffer, too. We suffer the worry of loved ones being taken by la migra, and share the uncertainty, the inability to plan. We get to know how the world looks through their eyes.
4. Community: Scott Peck said, “In community lies the salvation of the world.” When we know how connected we are; when we know that truly we are equals; when we learn to use our own power and privilege, not to dominate, to open doors for others; when we know that all of us, together, both give and receive, life happens. Joy happens. Hope, energy and vision. It is one of the most exciting things in the world. It is worth spending your life!
5. Nonviolence: We are about doing something new. Always new, always fresh, even though it’s been said for centuries and centuries. What does it mean to love one’s enemies? How do you resist evil with love? Finding what this means in each new age, each new situation: this, too, is worth your whole life!
6. “Living in joyful hope”: why do it if there isn’t joy? Joy is at the heart of the love that forms the universe. If there isn’t joy, be suspicious! Because, as Teilhard de Chardin is reported to have said, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” And this brings us full circle, because if you want joy, go to the source of it. Spend time in contemplation with the God who set the stars in motion, and know that all is most deeply, profoundly, utterly well.
You can find a National Catholic Reporter article about her talk, here:
No 11 am Mass this Sunday, August 19. Hope to see you on the 26th!
Love to all,
St John's Home is in need of volunteers to transport our elders to and from Sunday afternoon worship service, between 1:30 and 3:30 pm. This involves going up to the floors and bringing folks down for worship, then bringing them back up afterwards. It is an ideal project for a group of 5 or 6 people, a great service opportunity for Small Christian communities or other groups looking for a way to serve. Individuals are also most welcome. Please call Anne Hayadenek at St John's Home, 585-760-1291, to volunteer or for more information. St John's Home is located at 150 Highland Avenue, Rochester, 14620.
There is a need for Spanish language reading material for someone who will be unable to work for a while in the migrant community. If you happen to have any Spanish novels, magazines, whatever, I’d be happy to pass them along.
This past Wednesday, August 15, would have been the 95th birthday of Monsenor Oscar Romero. I am so grateful for his life! (and would like to point out that he shares his birthday withboth my friend Rev. Rachel McGuire of Immanuel Baptist Church, and Julia Child! Take that, Mike Streb!)
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620