Well, not sure how random they are, but I needed a quick title.
I just finished reading, Dead Man Walking, by Sister Helen Prejean. One quote struck a chord. She said:
“In 1980 my religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille, had made a commitment to “stand on the side of the poor,” and I had assented, but reluctantly. I resisted this recasting of the faith of my childhood, where what counted was a personal relationship with God, inner peace, kindness to others, and heaven when this life was done. I didn’t want to struggle with politics and economics. We were nuns, after all, not social workers, and some realities in life were, for better or worse, rather fixed – like the gap between rich and poor. Even Jesus Christ himself had said, “The poor you will always have with you.” Besides, it was all so complex and confusing- the mess the world was in – with one social problem meshed with other problems…” (p.5)
She was moved by the fact that the US made up of about “6 percent of the world’s population,” yet consumed “48 percent of the world’s goods”… (p.5) (Not sure if this statistic is still current – the book was written around 1984-85.)
The speaker “pointed out that to claim to be apolitical or neutral in the face of such injustices would be, in actuality, to uphold the status quo – a very political position to take, and on the side of the oppressors” (p.5-6).
The speaker also asserted, “The Gospels record that Jesus preached good news to the poor…and an essential part of that good news was that they were to be poor no longer.” Which meant they were not to meekly accept their poverty and suffering as God’s will, but, instead, struggle to obtain the necessities of life which were rightfully theirs. And Jesus’ challenge to the nonpoor, she emphasized, was to relinquish their affluence and to share their resources with the dispossessed” (p. 6)
It was an interesting read, particularly as I had just finished reading Persuaders – Influence Peddling, Lobbying and Political Corruption in Canada by Paul Malvern. At the beginning of the book, he suggests that the reader get a “stiff drink”. I was doing okay until I got to the part where a Commission formed to tackle “overt racism” began to come up with other forms of “subtle racism” to keep the Commission going – they didn’t want to be unemployed. It seems it is in the Commissions best interest to cause problems, to stir the pot.
I read this in disbelief – They actually want to cause divisiveness, conflict, bitterness, resentment between Canadian-born peoples and Immigrants and Non-Whites. It was almost time for that “stiff drink” but I somehow managed to hold it together.
And, then I picked up, Dead Man Walking – a friend had suggested it. When I began to read about the politics involved in the Death Penalty, and prisoners on Death Row, it was time for that “stiff drink”. (Seriously, Kahlua and Milk X 2, my friends!)
But hey, at least in Canada it’s only money that the elite stealing from our pockets – Maybe we should count our blessings that we’re not being sent off to the electric chair, so the “Governor”does not look like he is “soft on crime”? Reelection is electrifying in America.
I believe Sister Helen Prejean said that when you stand up for the poor, you are going to be political – you will naturally become a target. Makes sense, given that the elite are fueled by fear and greed. To try and get them to pry the money/resources out of their hands is going to be difficult to say the least.
My gut is, “Oh Crud!” Does this mean I am going to have to stand up, speak up for those who cannot? I feel challenged, inspired and downright frightened by both Malvern and Sister Helen, two people, like you and I, who found the courage to speak, and who could no longer stand by, allowing injustices to be swept under the rug by the elite.
How you and I respond is entirely up to us. Maybe a song by the wonderful Emile Sande will help to encourage? Let it be our song because we really are “wonderful, wonderful people!”
Praying for us “little guys”.