By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Advocacy.
“But anyone who hates a sister or brother is in the darkness
and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going,
because the darkness has blinded them.” -1 John 2:11
A few weeks ago, the Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration (OPSCC) shared a prayer called, “Responding to Racism: Acknowledging Our Sin, Opening to God’s Grace, Living God’s Call to Oneness.”
This prayer was shared with the hope to “challenge our country and church to work diligently for healing through an authentic change of mind, heart, and institutional reality. The sin of racism and the devastation it brings must be challenged... we begin all things in prayer and need to commit to action!”
The OPSCC and Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, invite you to read these powerful words below and join us in prayer to end racism.
Call to Prayer:
Wake me up Holy One, so that the evil of racism finds no home within me. Keep watch over my heart and remove from me any barriers to your grace. Release me from thoughts, words, and actions that oppress
and offend my brothers and sisters.
Fill my spirit Holy One, so that I may live a life of service and of justice and peace. Clear my mind and use it for your glory. And finally, remind us, Lord, that you said, "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." Amen.
Acknowledging the Sin of Racism:
Most people would not consider themselves to be racist. A person might admit to being prejudiced but certainly not racist. As Christians, we know it is our duty to love others. St. Paul reminds us that we live by the Spirit, and the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). We must be honest with ourselves. Each of us should examine our conscience and ask if these fruits are really present in our attitudes about race. Or, rather, do our attitudes reflect mistrust, impatience, anger, distress, discomfort, or rancor? When we begin to separate people in our thoughts for unjust reasons, when we start to see some people as “them” and others as “us,” we fail to love. Yet love is at the heart of the Christian life.
Love compels each of us to resist racism courageously. It requires us to reach out generously to the victims of this evil, to assist the conversion needed in those who still harbor racism, and to begin to change policies and structures that allow racism to persist. Overcoming racism is a demand of justice, but because Christian love transcends justice, the end of racism will mean that our community will bear fruit beyond simply the fair treatment of all.
“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love”, 2018
A Pastoral Letter on Racism, U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops
Gospel Reading and Quiet Reflection (Luke 10:25-37):
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live."
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, 'Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.' Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
Call and Response:
We thank you, Holy One,
for in your loving wisdom you created one human family with a diversity that enriches our communities.
Create an open heart in us, Holy One, that we may recognize the worth and dignity of each member of our human family, made in your image and beloved by you.
Create a willing spirit in us, Holy One, so that we may envision a way forward in healing racial divisions that deny human dignity and break the bonds between all human beings.
Create an inclusive vision in us, Holy One, that we may affirm and acknowledge each person's dignity
through fair access to economic opportunity, housing, education, and employment.
Create a courageous, welcoming stance in us, Holy, One, that we may have eyes to see what is possible when we reach out beyond fear, beyond anger, to stand side by side with our sisters and brothers.
Create an obedient will in us, Holy One,
responsive to your call and challenge to reveal your teachings and your love as the path to end racism and proclaim our oneness in the Community of Life.
Presentation of Our Needs:
We are each invited to bring before God and one another the needs of our world.
God of Heaven and Earth, you created the one human family and endowed each person with great dignity.
Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism. Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight from our hearts, our communities, our institutions.
Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor so that we may work with you in healing our land from racial injustice.
We ask this in the name and truth of Jesus the Christ. Amen.