Tuesday, May 10, 2005

revolution starts with 'i'

Mark and Louise Zwick run a Catholic Worker house in Houston for immigrants and refugees. The work they do is amazing, and as if that in itself weren't enough, they also publish a newspaper every 2 months or so to tell the stories of the immigrants and spread the philosophy of the Catholic Worker Movement. Their article on how we can reform the Church is a beautiful description of much that is happening in the Church today. They tell how Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin found freedom, not opression in the Church. They also quote Pope John Paul II on the dangers of fully embracing all that our democracy declares to be true while simultaneously considering the authority of the Church to be questionable and unreasonable:
There is a tendency to see intellectual relativism as the necessary corollary of democratic forms of political life. In such a view, truth is determined by the majority and varies in accordance with passing cultural and political trends. From this point of view, those who are convinced that certain truths are absolute and immutable are considered unreasonable and unreliable. On the other hand, as Christians we firmly believe that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.
This, I believe, is an even greater danger at this point in time, where even the rule of the majority seems at times to take a back seat to the rule of decisions made in court.

Perhaps the most difficult was a quote from Dorothy Day: "I said, 'Don't invest money, except in the poor-there you might expect a return.' We learn these things in the New Testament. There's a constant tension at the spiritual foundations; it's a matter of faith. The Lord will send you. If they want your coat, give up your coat. I mean, it just works. If it fails, well, that's because it should fail. It wouldn't matter."

That's an amazing faith. It requires a constant discernment - where is the Lord sending me? - and complete unattatchment, not just to money and material items, but also to the success of our mission - where we spend our money and time is up to the Lord, and once we have spent it the best we can, the fruit of that investment is also up to Him. If each one of us did that, it would be a revolution. I have a long way to go.

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