Called to Act for Justice
“Action of behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as constitutive dimensions of the preaching of the gospel, or, in other words, of the church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.” 1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
As we begin to emerge from the solitude and isolation of the global pandemic, we are called to address areas of inequality and oppression that became even more starkly apparent. We continue to provide reflections that you can use in your local setting, either individually or with others.
Take our stony hearts, O God
and give us hearts of flesh.
Take our hardened rock-white hearts
pull them from our chest,
from the center of our being
give us the grace to embrace the discomfort
of letting go of old ways of knowing
and being in the world.
Give us fleshy hearts, rich with color
give us the grace to nurture these hearts living in us,
in the center of our being
beating loudly to the rhythm
Take our stony hearts, O God
and give us hearts of flesh.
by Kelly Adamson, Associate Director, University of Dayton Campus Ministry
A Sabbath Prayer
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;
For we know that you have made the world in a way that people must find their own path to peace within themselves and with their neighbors.
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end starvation;
For you have already given us the resources with which to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.
We cannot only pray to you, O God, to root out prejudice;
For you have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end despair;
For you have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end disease;
For you have already given us great minds with which to search out cures and healing if we would only use them constructively.
Therefore we pray to you instead, O God, for strength, determination and will power,
To do … instead of just pray
To become … instead of merely to wish.
For Courage to Do Justice
O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others
Open my ears that I may hear their cries;
Open my heart so that they need not be without succor;
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
That I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.
– Alan Paton
The Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation
Holy God, we confess to you
our collusion with the habits of violence in our culture:
our silence …
our fears …
our complicity in the violence suffered by women.
Forgive us, we pray,
and give us grace to stand up and be counted
with those who bear witness to the truth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus said: Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Receive God’s forgiveness,
and by the power of the Spirit
take up your calling
to be advocates for change,
agents of healing
and messengers of hope,
in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
A Spirituality of Social Justice
Taken from Pentecost Reflections – Micah
To walk humbly with God is spirituality. So how might social justice advocates interpret and apply Micah’s instruction to “walk humbly with your God?” Think about each word.
Walking is not the usual way we are taught to think of developing a social justice spirituality. But I like it. Not running, not rushing, just walking. The Buddhist social justice activist and contemplative Thich Nhat Hanh writes frequently about ‘mindful walking.’ He describes his approach to walking meditation, ‘we walk slowly. Alone or with friends, if possible in some beautiful place. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking – walking not in order to arrive, just for walking. This suggests we approach the Spirit in the way we would walk with a friend – taking our time, enjoying the walk.
We must create the time to take that walk. Action without contemplation is a recipe for burnout.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Essential Writings, Orbis Books, New York, 2001
Reprinted from The Common Good, No. 33, Pentecost 2005 by Bill Quigley
The Work of Christmas Begins
When the carols have been stilled,
When the star-topped tree is taken down,
When family and friends are gone home,
When we are back to our schedules
The work of Christmas begins:
To welcome the refugee,
To heal a broken planet,
To feed the hungry,
To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear,
To share our gifts,
To seek justice and peace for all people,
To bring Christ’s light to the world.
– by Michael Dougherty, a variation on Howard Thurman’s ‘When the Song of the Angels is Stilled’
Passion for justice is intrinsic to who we are as Presentation people, and it is our guiding light that directs our mission. From our very beginnings, the pains of injustice have called to our hearts. Nano Nagle’s heart was stirred to leave France and return to Ireland to address the injustice of the penal laws which forbade Catholic children to be properly educated. Nano pushed beyond the boundaries of the law to address this evil.
Today our hearts are stirred to address injustices in our world, especially when we see racism and violence toward women, children, immigrants, and other vulnerable people. Our passion for justice stirs us to learn and to take action against unjust realities.
Presentation people find inspiration in Mary, the mother of Jesus.
She’s a model of the vision of transformation. That vision is present in each of us and in every person. We hope to spread Mary’s vision to transform the world.
If Jesus manifests what God is doing, Mary exemplifies how to receive what God is doing and hand it on to others. In art, she is invariably offering Jesus to the observer or inviting us to come to him.
What if I/we were willing to be transformed? What if our world were transformed to justice?
Today, we see a great longing for relational, mutually-empowering, feminine qualities at every level in our society. Feminine power at its best is deeply relational and symbolic. And that’s when it’s most transformative.
Mother of Earth, Mother of Sky, bless us with the courage we need to allow our own transformation in light of the Great Story of the Universe and our call to be, like you, Co-creators of Holy Earth.
–Text adapted from Presentation Day Novena, 2019
We pray, God of love, compassion and healing, for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
For women and girls who have experienced violent relationships, that they can find safety and healing from their trauma, and rebuild their lives;
For children who have witnessed violence in their homes against their mothers and sisters and other family members, that they will experience healing and hope;
For indigenous women and refugee women who have been impacted by extreme violence, that deep and lasting change will ensure their safety;
For individuals and organizations working to prevent violence against women and girls and help survivors of violence, that their courage and generosity will endure;
For men who speak out against forms of expression that demean women or condone violence against them, that their voices will grow stronger;
For the men and boys who have behaved violently towards women and girls that they will have a change of heart, repent in meaningful ways, and seek whatever help they need to lead changed lives.
God of love, we commend these prayers to you and for your compassion to flood the hearts of all people. Amen.
(Adapted from women.catholic.org.au)
Enjoy the following reflection guide: Easter 2021 – A Sacred Journey
Towards Easter 2021 … a story to remember a journey to undertake into this now… an enduring promise to embrace gift of hope of healing of whole-making of holy. In this now moment, this Easter 2021… we find ourselves in a world caught in the ravages of Covid 2019 beset by death and suffering ravaged by war and abuse challenged by injustice and inequality weighed down by fear and anxiety.
In this now moment, this Easter 2021 …
the universe celebrates
springtime in the global north
and autumn in the global south
windows into Mystery
In this now moment, this Easter 2021…
we let go
we are nourished