Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)

Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)

September 2017 Fraternity Meeting Report

We held our annual fall day of reflection on September 17. Eight professed members, one in formation, nine guests from St. Mary fraternity in Shakopee, one spiritual assistant in training and Fr. Jim VanDorn were in attendance. Bonnie Unzen led us in an opening prayer for creation. Will Moore, a commissioned spiritual assistant for our region, was the speaker. His topic was the history of retreats as an aid to the apostolate of the retreat center. In two talks, Will explored different facets and benefits of retreats, as well as a brief survey of the history of retreats, stemming from the monastic movement onward. He stressed the importance of daily “retreats.” Two periods of silence were followed by large group discussion. Following vespers led by Dave Keymer, we enjoyed a pot luck with our guests.

Our next fraternity meeting will be on October 15. We will discuss chapter 7 in To Live as Francis Livedfor ongoing formation.

Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)

In late August and September, we watched on social media and TV the great destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria as they hit islands in the Caribbean and the southern United States. We also saw two major earthquakes in Mexico causing catastrophic loss of life and property.

A great danger in all of this is that we can become overwhelmed and immune to the pain and suffering of others, in a kind of compassion fatigue. By the time Maria hit Puerto Rico, it was uncomfortable to think about, and I know I didn’t react the same as I did to the destruction caused by Harvey and Irma. So much pain, so many people. It was easy to write out a check for Texas relief, but how about the needs of Florida and Puerto Rico and the people of Mexico? Of course we can’t help them all, but where do we stop?

Pope Francis, in his homily on Sept. 19 during morning Mass, said that we need to have true compassion so we feel others' pain and are moved to help. "Compassion is an emotion that engages, it is a feeling from the heart, from the gut," affecting one's entire being,” he said. “Compassionis not the same as pity or (saying), 'What a shame, poor people ...' but leaving things as they are.” The word "compassion" comes from "compati," which means to "suffer with," he said, and this is compassion's true meaning.*

The pope reflected on the day's Gospel reading from St. Luke, which recounted Jesus encountering a widow mourning the death of her only son — her only hope of support and survival.Instead of worrying about the crowd that had accompanied him and using that as an excuse to move on, Jesus was more concerned about the tragic plight of the widow right in front of him, the pope said.

"Why?" the Pope Francis asked. "Because his heart, his whole inner being got wrapped up" in the situation, which drove him to get close and become involved, to reassure the woman and perform the miracle of bringing the son back to life — to restore human life.God had compassion for his people, went to them through his son, Jesus, and restored their dignity as children of God, "recreating us all," the pope said.

Christians, he said, must to follow Christ's example: look at reality, be moved by it and get close to those in need with the aim of restoring their dignity, welcoming them into a community, supporting them so they can live out their daily lives in a dignified way.Pope Francis asked that people reflect on their reaction when they read or hear news about tragedies, such as starving children, child soldiers or enslaved women."Do I turn the page" and move on to tales of romance, "the soap opera that is on next?" he asked. Or "am I able to have compassion? To pray?" so that when one sees or hears about these tragedies, one's whole being is moved and "the heart suffers with these people."

As we enter into silence and the great heart of God in our prayer, we feel the pain. And we do what we can.

Mary Higgins, secretary and JPIC animator *report on Pope Francis’ homily from National Catholic Reporter