Monday, June 13, 2016

Prayers for Victims and Survivors of Orlando, "Becoming a Moral Factor" by Sister Joan Chittister

Let us hold all who died and who suffered wounds in the Orlando massacre in our prayers and loving thoughts this day. May we work together to advocate for sensible gun control such as banning assault weapons, comprehensive treatment of mental illness  and education in non-violence and homophobia to prevent horrific acts of terror in the future. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP Becoming a moral factor
"There are three obstacles to the development in us of the force of personality that would make us a moral factor in the world:

First, fear of loss of status has done more to chill character than history will ever know.  We do not curry favor with kings by pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. We do not gain promotions by countering the beloved viewpoints of the chair of the board or the bishop of the diocese. We do not figure in the neighborhood barbecues if we embarrass the Pentagon employees in the gathering by a public commitment to demilitarization. It is a hard time, this choice of destiny between public conscience and social acceptability. Then we tell ourselves that nothing is to be gained by upsetting people. And sure enough, nothing is.

Second, personal comfort is a factor, too, in the decision to let other people bear responsibility for the tenor of our times. It takes a great deal of effort to turn my attention beyond the confines of where I work and where I live and what my children do. It requires turning my mind to substance beyond the sitcoms and the sports channel and the local weekly. It means not allowing myself to go brain-dead before the age of forty. But these things that cost comfort are exactly the things that will, ultimately, make life better for my work and my children.

Third, fear of criticism is no small part, surely, of this unwillingness to be born into the world for which I have been born. To differ from the mainstream of humanity, to take a position that is not popular on a topic that is not acceptable tests the tenor of the best of debaters, the strongest of thinkers, the most skilled of speakers.

The process of human discourse is a risky one. Other people speak more clearly or convincingly than we do. Other people have better academic backgrounds than we do. Other people have more authority and robes and buttons and titles than we do and to confront those things takes nerve of a special gauge. I may lose. I may make a perfect fool out of myself. But has to be perfect about something. What else can be more worth it than giving the gift of the perfect question in a world uncomfortable with the answers but too frightened or too complacent or too ambitious to raise these doubts again?

I have no doubt, however, that the courage to ask questions is part of what it takes to give birth to a soul of crystal."

   —from For Everything a Season by Joan Chittister (Orbis)

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