Universal Love 2 - JBK Happy Colour
Being Salt, Being Light
In my last message I mentioned that my hope was to go to the refugee camp in Matamoros, Mexico in the coming days. We were able to arrange for the visit across the border at Brownsville, TX with the Angry Tias and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley for Wednesday, February 5th. I wrote a photo journal of our experience which you can access here. While it is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” still there is much that it doesn’t tell. The images captured with the click of a button are limited in the ability to tell the story beyond the immediate experience. A picture is also limited in its ability to relay the emotional and spiritual experiences of the moment.
What we witnessed at Matamoros is nothing short of a growing humanitarian crisis. The camp is an advanced stage of aggressive anti-immigrant sentiment on the part of those who hold political power in the USA. Since 2017 policies have been implemented that have little regard for the persons coming as refugees seeking asylum. Everyone is assumed to be a “bad hombre” that needs to be shunned. Physical walls have been constructed and policy barriers implemented to keep people out or at least, make it very difficult to come into the country. In fact, most of the asylum seekers we met at the camp are families, fathers and mothers who are fleeing violence in their homeland in the hope that they can provide a better future for their children. In contrast to the words of Sacred Scripture, Is. 58:6-10, “to welcome the neighbour at our door”, the camp is an effort to keep them away. Whatever the circumstance that have brought them from their homes and country, they are persons deserving of respect and humanitarian concern.
There were several emotional moments during our experience. Besides witnessing the poor living conditions and how some were shivering in the cold that morning, there was the warm welcome we received and the joy of the children in seeing friendly people. I left the camp with a heavy heart knowing the attitude of disdain that has created the situation. This should not be. Without the humanitarian relief efforts of NGO’s and local charities like the Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV, they would have next to nothing. Yet, they live in hope – hope that they will have the opportunity to gain entrance into the United States and be able to provide a better life for their children.
St. Augustine is considered to have said: "Hope has two lovely daughters, anger and courage. Anger so that what should not be, is not and courage so that what should be is.” Including “angry” in their name, the Tias and Abuelas are making a statement of their passion to make a difference in the lives of these poor people. The anger of the Tias is not vindictive anger, rather it is righteous anger in the pursuit of justice for the oppressed and freedom for those held captive. Whenever we become aware of or witness to injustice, the voice of God is there calling us to act for justice, to relieve the suffering.
In the Gospel according to Matthew (5:13-14), Jesus tells his followers (us) that you ARE salt of the earth and light of the world. In the Mediterranean world of his day, salt was used as a catalyst to generate fire in the clay ovens that were used. Salt was mixed with animal dung and formed into patties that were then dried before they were used for fuel. Also, a salt brick was placed in the oven to enhance the heat produced by the fuel. Righteous anger can be seen as salt that intensifies the flame of our love which will radiate compassionate action to help those in need. It is not just our love that we transmit, but the love of God placed within us. Rooted and grounded in Christ, our witness is to more than evil that exists. It is to the presence of the suffering Christ in our brothers and sisters. While we resist the evil, we focus on relieving their suffering.
Each of us in our communities has places where light is needed to overcome the darkness. Where and what do I see? How can I respond? Will I put a little salt in my heart to enhance the flame of love that is burning there? The salty Jesus started fires and created light. May we have courage to be salty catalysts for change so that the light of Christ will shine more brightly in all that we do and give glory to God.
[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]
Had Thomas Aquinas the benefit of modern science, he might not have made the errors about women which have left an almost indelible mark on Church and societal attitudes
Therese Koturbash, womensordinationcampaign.org | February 3, 2020
It is important to understand the perspectives of blockbuster theologian, saint and doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) as it pertains to women and the case for women's ordination.
Thomas was the most influential Catholic theologian of the Middle Ages. His influence on Vatican thinking is second to none. His consolidated views on women — drawn from prevailing thinking of his time — has left an almost indelible mark on women and their place in both Church and society.
[Therese Koturbash, BA, LLB, GDCL, Dauphin, MB, served as Canadian Delegate to Women’s Ordination Worldwide from 2008 to 2013. For all five of those years, she was elected member of WOW's four person International Leadership Circle. She has also been the National Coordinator of Canada's Catholic Network for Women's Equality. Today, Therese serves on WOW’s Communications Team and is a volunteer with WOW member group, womenpriests.org and Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research. Her paid work is as a family attorney.]
50 Years of Ordained Women
ELCA, www.elca.org | 2020
With gratitude for those who have gone before and hope for the future, the ELCA gives thanks to God for the ministry of women. In 2019 and 2020 we celebrate 50 years of Lutheran women being ordained in the United States, 40 years of women of color being ordained, and 10 years of LGBTQIA+ individuals being able to serve freely.
Dorothy Day documentary examines the woman and might-be saint
From the film
Julie Bourbon, ncronline.org | January 18, 2020
She's been called uncompromising. Prophetic. A peacemaker. No wonder documentary filmmaker Martin Doblmeier admits to having been "afraid" to tackle Dorothy Day as a subject.
The woman who co-founded The Catholic Worker newspaper and movement "was unflinching in her sense that this is my response to how God is calling me to behave," he said. "We're all called to do the same, and if we are, that's why I'm scared. Have I done my share? Have I done my part?"
Watch 3 minute video excerpt from the documentary
[Editor's note: With the permission of Denise Mack who coordinates the website God's Word Many Voices and the author of the following homily/article, Susan Roll, we begin to include this wonderful website in the Homilies section of The Review.]
Our call in Baptism to bear witness to the God among us, lies in our willingness to stand up to injustice
Susan Roll, godswordmanyvoices.org | January 29, 2020
“They were called ‘Thunder Candles,’” the elderly Polish nun told me. “We would light them during a thunderstorm to pray for protection. These candles were blessed on February 2nd, the Feast of the Purification of Mary, the same time as the candles for women’s churching rite.”
Hardly anyone remembers the old rite of the churching of women after childbirth. Until the mid-20th century a mother who had just given birth was customarily forbidden to enter the church building until she had been “churched.” She was to kneel at the church steps with a candle in her hand; the priest would come out, sprinkle holy water on her, and recite Psalm 24, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts…” Then the priest would extend the left side of his stole for the woman to hold as he led her, as if on a leash, into the church, where she was to pray and go to confession. While the churching ritual was explained to women as a blessing rite, its deep roots come from Leviticus and the ritual impurity incurred by a woman with a flow of blood.
With the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, the Feast of the Purification of Mary was changed to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
[Susan Roll holds an M.A. in Pastoral Theology from the former St. Bernard’s Seminary, and served for nine years as the first fulltime lay campus minister in the Diocese of Rochester, 1976-85.She went on to complete a doctorate with top honors in the Faculty of Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain / Leuven, Belgium in 1993.As the first fulltime lay professor at Christ the King Seminary, Buffalo NY, she taught liturgy and sacraments from 1995-2003.She retired in 2018 from the Faculty of Theology at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada where, in addition to teaching, research and direction of masters and doctoral theses, she directed the Sophia Research Centre, taught in the Native pastoral studies program, and served as a union officer.Throughout her career she has been active in movements for the full dignity of women in the Church.]
The Courage to Love and Serve: The Life Story of Rev. Judith A. Beaumont: A Roman Catholic Woman Priest And A Saint for Our Times
by Judith A B Lee (Author)
Amazon.com, Paperback $29.95; Kindle edition $5.99 – December 5, 2019
This is the exciting and sometimes surprising life of Rev. Judith Ann Beaumont, a Roman Catholic Woman Priest. In the seven completed decades of her life she lived with extraordinary courage as she followed her conscience in prophetic obedience and, when necessary, prophetic disobedience.
She lived her everyday life completely in service to God and her neighbors, without exception. As we seek to lead lives of meaning and service, her life is a beacon to show us the way. And a good portion of her days also included suffering with serious health issues including four cancers. Yet her eyes were on God and following Christ in "body broken, blood poured out", simply in her loving gift of herself.
She was a Benedictine Sister for 34 years, a peace activist, "jailbird", prison reformer, justice seeker and provider of new life for the homeless and those at the margins, and for me her partner in life and ministry. Her ultimate act of courage was to be ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in 2012.
Much of this account is autobiographical as her own writing and words are used wherever possible. This is a faithful and authentic account of her life of love, compassion and prophetic obedience.
The reader will be inspired and challenged to move beyond ordinary comfort zones to lead lives of love and courage with an attitude of gratitude. To take a chance on growth and a new level of satisfaction read and share this account of an extraordinary life!
[Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP is a Roman Catholic Woman Priest. She is Pastor of the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida.]
Of interest perhaps is the dissertation Catherine Smith DMin, United Church minister, finished in 2019. Found at St Stephen’s College archives in Edmonton: https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-m9b9-rk32.
[T Elder Hanlon, community not specified]
Editor's note: The above message to the editor is referencing the articles on vulnerability that appeared in the January 15th issue of The Review. See the abstract of this thesis on vulnerability below.
I am a member of the Emmaus community here in the Edmonton area. I have been enjoying "The Review" for a long time. I think it should be required reading for all of the male clergy in the world! Thank you, Jane, so very much for answering the call. No one can stop the Holy Spirit.
[Fran McDonald, Edmonton, AB]
Great issue. Keep up the good work!
[Kathy Cameron, Regina, SK]
A Permeable Way: How Vulnerability Nourishes Pastoral Leadership
Catherine Elizabeth Smith, era.library.ualberta.ca | Fall, 2019
The purpose of this research is to examine the phenomenon of vulnerability as it relates to pastoral leadership.
Setting the phenomenon within a theological framework, I ask: What difference does it make to the understanding and practice of pastoral leadership when it is viewed through a hermeneutic lens of vulnerability? By way of clarifying the phenomenon, I examine its treatment by authors representing a variety of disciplinary approaches, and I identify it as a theological theme exemplified in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and, indeed, throughout the scriptural narrative in so far as it exhibits a pattern of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation in depicting the dynamics of our life with God.
On the basis of these considerations, I argue that vulnerability is an inherent and valuable element of our being. It is the milieu or quality through which not only wounding but healing arrives. Because of this perceived duality vulnerability may induce anxiety and is thus frequently repressed through the use of strategies of invulnerability which diminish those who employ them and often damage others.
I claim, however, that when vulnerability is accepted, honoured, and inhabited with peace, it is generative of courage, creativity, and compassion. I demonstrate this claim by analysing my own experience in pastoral leadership, employing an autoethnographic methodology.
After examining the qualities of vulnerability and of leadership I reflect on liturgy, contemplative artistic practice, and governance, as areas in which leaders may gain facility in inhabiting vulnerability in ways that nourish their leadership and in which they can model the vitality of this inhabiting for those with whom they are in pastoral relationship. I suggest that a language of vulnerability comprising words and silence, ritual and gesture, is essential if the language of the market, frequently embraced by the church and its leaders, is to be subverted. I also argue that scripture and spiritual practice provide rich resources for the peaceful inhabiting of vulnerability.
[Catherine Elizabeth Smith, Sackville, NB - A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of St. Stephen’s College, University of Alberta, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF MINISTRY. A Permeable Way: How Vulnerability Nourishes Pastoral Leadership is available here for download, with permission of the author.]
Why ordain women?
From the film
WOC, womensordination.org | February 1, 2020
Why ordain women? It is one of the most simple and profound questions we answer as a movement. In our new video, we outline six simple reasons to ordain women as a companion to our resource Women's Ordination 101.
We share this especially today, on the Feast of St. Brigid of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland, and founder and abbess of the monastery of Kildare in the 5th century. As an abbess, Brigid held power comparable to a bishop.
As you will see in our video, women have boldly displayed ministerial leadership throughout history, just like St. Brigid, and today, like so many women we know.
Click on the image above, or click here to watch.
'Indian Horse' tells the raw truth about the plight of indigenous peoples
Antonio D. Sison, ncronline.org | January 25, 2020
"Aggressive assimilation" was a policy developed by the government of Canada in 1880 to ensure that children from indigenous communities would be able to adapt to modern, mainstream society. An estimated 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children were torn apart from their families and sent to be educated in state-funded, church-run "residential schools" tasked to supplant their native languages with English or French, rescue them from their "heathen" superstitious practices and convert them to Christianity.
[Indian Horse: A Novel, Paperback, Kindle – Amazon.com
by Richard Wagamese]
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