Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Choose Life"...

“For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?
"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children's children
(Deuteronomy 4:7-9).”

Today, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have declared this a day of penance for sins against the dignity of human life – especially, but not exclusively – abortion. We have, as a nation, repented social sins before: slavery, racial discrimination, the oppression of women, abuse of the immigrant, and, more recently, the torture of human beings. As human beings we fail, often, to recognize GOD in one another. Sometimes, we just forget GOD altogether, and then we think we are GOD. Perhaps our values get skewed by efforts to sanctify one over the other. How can “freedom” trump “life”? How can one human being’s choice be more important than another human being? Made in the image and likeness of our GOD, our true freedom comes from an inherent dignity. That dignity must be protected and preserved if we are to be the great nation we long to be.

It has been 36 years since our highest court made abortion a legal option. Each year, without fail, tens of thousands of people gather in Washington to “March for Life.” As our nation begins a new chapter – welcomes with hope a new administration – it would seem the moment to begin a vital, albeit difficult, conversation. Now is the moment to gather the finest minds of science, medicine, social work and ethics with theologians of every faith tradition for a national conversation on abortion. I pray that President Obama initiates such a dialogue and listens with the ear of his heart (Rule of Benedict, Prologue 1). Sometimes, we as Americans do forget GOD. It is time to for us to remember.

“…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).”

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not red, not blue...but American

Last night I gave a presentation to the RCIA cohort at St. Michael the Archangel here in Richmond. (I love this parish!) I had spent the better part of the day with the events at the Capitol. As I drove to the church, I found myself feeling especially grateful for the quiet. There was so much to take in, so many wonders of the day; the time alone felt right.

The peaceful transition of power is a remarkable feature of democracy. The dignity and respect the President and former President gave to one another was a tribute to the greatness of our nation. No monastery can have two abbots. One must withdraw so the next can begin the next leg of the journey.

I’m sure most of you heard the speech live. I was moved by the beauty of President Obama’s words and the clear request for our help. Our President quoted Saint Paul and urged us to leave behind “childish things.” In the Rule of Benedict, we are cautioned against "murmuring" – giving speech to divisive thoughts or stirring up trouble with our complaints or gossip. I think President Obama may be asking the same of us as individual citizens.

I pray that we can keep becoming as a nation – keep refining the ideals that make us who we are as a people. I pray for freedom tempered with respect, civility in our discourse, protection of the most vulnerable, a peace that comes with justice and the proper stewardship of the resources entrusted to our care. I pray that our Congress will work as one for the good of all. I pray that our new President will have the wisdom and strength for the road ahead. And, I pray that this great nation, will sit among other great nations, as partner in the global goals of peace, health and prosperity for all GOD’s people.

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki

Monday, January 19, 2009

When Dreams Converge...

On Martin's day it is impossible to not connect the dots of history before us. Dr. King was a friend of GOD, dreamer, prophet and martyr for human dignity. Forty-five years after his most famous speech, another man stands ready to take up that dream. This man knows that a dream this big can only come to pass if all GOD's people say, "Yes, we can."

I was moved as many ordinary men and women were interviewed yesterday. Some had been present in the summer of 1963 for that first March on Washington. These elders could not hold back their tears of joy and wonder. Like Simeon and Anna who recognized the Savior in Mary's arms, they, too, have seen GOD's promise fulfilled. "For there is neither male or female, slave or free, Gentile or Jew; for all are one in CHRIST (Galatians 3:28)."
Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki