So. Now what?
We promised to bring you a collection of ideas and articles on each Wednesday between the November election and the January inauguration. The popularity of this weekly feature provided a clear message: Don’t stop now!
Bob Bonnot provides the first installment as we commit to seek wisdom on Wednesdays.
On January 20, 2021, U.S. Inauguration Day, twenty-two year old Amanda Gorman, national youth poet laureate, sketched in poetry the steep hill our nation is climbing. She tells us that somehow “we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished”, a nation that must “lift our gazes to … what stands before us.” Her challenging and hopeful message can help us think about our Church as well.
Spiritual transformation and personal fortitude
Sr. Nancy Sylvester makes it preeminently clear that any deep transformation of our faith, our Church, and our nation needs to begin with deep interior change.
A new consciousness is urgently needed, one that flows from a contemplative heart. … Deepening one’s contemplative practice is never just for one’s own transformation; rather, it is also for the transformation of the world.
Sr. Joan Chittester makes clear how difficult and challenging that can be, so she offers spiritual guidelines drawn from a wise monastic woman of the fifth century, Amma (Mother) Theodora.
“Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate.” (If you want to really solve this situation, in other words, don’t try to take the easy way out of it.) “Just as the trees if they have not stood before the winter’s storm cannot bear fruit,” she goes on, “so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptation that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”
On the role of government
Franciscan theologian Daniel Horan proposes that we Catholics need to rally around the Catholic Social Teaching about the common good and work hard to make that the goal of our work as Catholic citizens and of our government, “PERIOD”, he asserts.
Robert Christian, the youthful editor of an online periodical on religion, politics and culture by millennial Catholics argues persuasively the importance of choosing civic patriotism over ethnic nationalism as we climb that challenging hill and look forward.
Fratelli Tutti in action
And finally Pope Francis weighs in calling for a new kind of politics not only in the U.S. but in the world, a politics of Social and Political Charity and the Exercise of Political Love. He spells it out in Chapters 5-6 of his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. He calls us, as did Amanda Gorman, not only to “be brave enough to see it,” but “brave enough to be it.” He calls us to “A Better Kind of Politics: Social and Political Charity, The Exercise of Political Love, Dialogue and Friendship in Society, A New Culture.”
This collection of wise counsel can strengthen us as we absorb shards of wisdom in the poetry of Amanda Gorman’s challenge that we “‘gaze on what stands before us, … and envision all of us sitting under own vine and fig tree, … unafraid, … if only we dare. …In faith we trust … (and) move to what shall be … (to) merge mercy with might and might with right (so) love becomes our legacy … if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” (edited with added punctuation).