Pope Franics defined six foundational points for judging the future for the American and African Continents. Briefly, he less than 60 seconds he enumerated them for us:
- Reality (Opulence versus loss of human dignity)
- Generation of Justice (Everyday is a conquest opportunity for everyone)
- Unconditional Commitment versus a culture of indifference
- History as a guiding Axis
- Be God’s people, not God’s elite
- Solidarity (Fighting against structural poverty)
As Catholics we are in the first week of advent. Roughly four weeks of renewal by practicing increased prayer, use of symbolism in our masses and homes, and culmination on Christmas day, the birth of Jesus Christ. It also starts the new “liturgical year.” It is almost like a spiritual new year’s eve, you can use the time to sure up your spiritual base and make resolutions for the coming spiritual year.
What a perfect time to give thought to social justice and our indifference to suffering (#3) here at home and abroad. His message though is one of hope. Each of us has a “conquest opportunity” (#2) everyday to fight social injustice. It calls us though to see what is before our eyes and listen to what our ears hear: suffering all around us in many forms. We must face the reality (#1) of a broken economic system (nationally and internationally), world hunger, COVID, and housing/education/healthcare deprivation.
To do this we must be educated beyond the social media fades and memes of the day. History (#4) has all we need to know for now to move forward. We have rich experiences with failed political systems, failed religious fundamentalisms, and misuse of science by omission (ignoring reality) or by commission (our great ability to destroy people with weapons of mass destruction or environmental poisoning of their water, land, air, or food supply).
Now comes the hard part. Pope Francis is not calling on the elite or calling us to be the elite (#5). He is calling on us to act wherever we are, everyday, as if we were his disciples. As if we were one of God’s people. How are we measuring up outside of tending to the people within our family circle?
The mountain top is high and I am saddened to say we will most likely not see the top of the mountain where we can say we achieved before us what is God’s intention and God’s plan for heaven on earth. However, we are still called to strive for that spiritual perfection that aims by action to move us continuously in that direction. No one of us alone can bear the weight of this calling.
Go forth and conquer! Maybe not. Perhaps we can go forth and conquer our own desires and actions first during this advent. Perhaps after that we can act and do something ourselves rather than looking to what others can do. If we can do those two things moderately well – we won’t have to ask others to join us in solidarity (#6), they will join us of their own volition by seeing the peace in our hearts and glow in our souls.
There are so many opportunities everyday. All we have to do is look and act. Reading alone will not suffice. Most of you that are reading this are striving to do just that everyday. May some reflection time strengthen your resolve and bolster your energy.
A special prayer today to the physicians and nurses that are our last line of defense for our many sick and dying COVID patients. In the United States our nation is indifferent and defeated from within as the virus has run its course virtually unopposed and aided by a society willingly ignoring its deadly reach. Now we suffer together as one, some more than others.