07 December 2017

women’s rights are breaking silence

The news of the past couple of months, that is, reports of sexual harassment and abuse of women has seemingly caught some people off guard.  (I’m not sure if it would be helpful or not to say, “This has been going on for millennia,” so I won’t say it!)  Powerful men in business, athletics, entertainment, and politics—politics at every level—have been exposed.  Some have even admitted and bragged about their behavior.

This Sunday is Human Rights Day.  The date goes back to 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations.  The phrase “women’s rights are human rights” gained momentum in the 1980s and became well-known after Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech in Beijing.

As we’ve seen, Time magazine’s Person of the Year is (are?) The Silence Breakers, associated with the #MeToo movement.  These are women from every part of society, from superstars in acting and music to migrant workers.  No woman is immune from mistreatment.  Thankfully, many men have stood up and taken their place, brothers speaking out for their sisters.

Of course, we aren’t without trailblazers.  In the gospel of St. John, Jesus is having a discussion with a Samaritan woman at a well.  His disciples arrive, and we’re told, “They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman” (4:27).

Some silence is meant to be broken.

27 November 2017

a deep well

Something Henri Nouwen said of writing is “it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.”

A deep well of hidden treasure.  My well feels so deep that I can’t see the bottom.  Let me lower that bucket and see what comes up.  Is it bone dry?  Is it at least moist?  Wow, maybe there’s some water to quench the thirsty traveler.  Maybe there’s something down there after all.

“Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.”  Give me some of that.  Prime the pump.  Let the words flow.  Can their impotence, their powerlessness, their ugliness, be something life-giving, something to be admired?  They need spirit; they need fire.  They need a butt-kicking.

Is it enough to write just for the sake of writing?  I think so.  Is it the will of God?  That’s a good question!  Never mind—just do it.

02 November 2017

all souls’ day

Today is All Souls’ Day, which has acquired various meanings.  For a large part of the church, it is the finale of the commemoration and remembrance of the faithful departed—from All Hallows Eve and All Saints’ Day.  Traditionally in the Roman Catholic Church, it was the day of prayer for those in purgatory, so that their stay and release from there would be expedited!  In Mexico, today is the consummation of el Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).  It is a joyful, festive celebration honoring those who have passed on.

For many centuries, the beginning of November has been associated with death, as the leaves fall and the earth prepares for its slumber.  But it is also a time of “thin places,” where our realm and the realms beyond draw near.  It is a time for visitation between the earthly and the celestial.  Thin places are not restricted to this time, however.  They can appear anywhere and anytime.

I am reminded of Dag Hammarskjöld’s meditation in Markings:

“Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I—
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.

But in the meantime how grievous the memory
Of hours frittered away.”

The passing is not without its sadness, but all will be changed in the new creation in the limitless love of God.