Tag Archives: indifference

one senator’s response…

While the White House waffles and delays any significant  response to the deadliest mass shooting in US history, at least one member of Congress tell it like it is. #BLOTUS and his cronies are not about to antagonize their base by taking action.  Where does it stop?

the globalization of indifference

The following piece is an article by Christopher Hale. He is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and is also the co-founder of Millennial. Ash Wednesday was last week, and marked the beginning of Lent.

Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. This ancient day and season has a surprising modern appeal. Priests and pastors often tell you that outside of Christmas, more people show up to church on Ash Wednesday than any other day of the year—including Easter. But this mystique isn’t reserved for Christians alone. The customs that surround the season have a quality to them that transcend religion.

Perhaps most notable is the act of fasting. While Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during the Lenten season, many people—religious or not—take up this increasingly popular discipline during the year.

But Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

But this isn’t to downplay the role of sacrifice during the Lenten season. Lent is a good time for penance and self-denial. But once again, Francis reminds us that these activities must truly enrich others: “I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”

So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.

In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”

Describing this phenomenon he calls the globalization of indifference, Francis writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

But when we fast from this indifference, we can began to feast on love. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again. Jesus—the great protagonist of this holy season—certainly showed us the way. In him, God descends all the way down to bring everyone up. In his life and his ministry, no one is excluded.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” It’s a question a lot of people will get these next few days. If you want to change your body, perhaps alcohol and candy is the way to go. But if you want to change your heart, a harder fast is needed. This narrow road is gritty, but it isn’t sterile. It will make room in ourselves to experience a love that can make us whole and set us free.

Now that’s something worth fasting for.

boils and scabies (and the Golden Rule)

I love Sufi poetry, and Rumi and Hafiz have long been favorites. I recently came across this delightful quote by Rumi and I share it now because of its timeliness in my own life.

When a man has boils or scabies,, he isn’t disgusted with himself; he puts his infected hand in his dish and he licks his fingers without any repugnance. But, if he sees a small sore on someone else’s hand he can’t swallow his food. It’s the same with moral blemishes; when you see defects such as indifference, pride, and lust in yourself, they don’t bother you; but as soon as you notice them in others, you feel hurt and resentful. 

Jesus is clear in his call for those following him to treat one another just as they would want to be treated. We know it as the “Golden Rule.” Wonderfully, every major religion and faith tradition has the Golden Rule as part of their core values.

The frightening bottom line in the Christian faith is that Jesus says we will be judged exactly like we judge those around us. The measure we give is the measure we will get.

We all have our own moral warts and scabies. Before we start pointing our infected fingers at those around us we need to first clear up the blemishes in our own less-than-perfect lives.

a prayer for those in greatest need

God of grace and God of glory, we pause this morning to offer you praise and thanks for the truly awesome creation we call home. We cannot begin to fathom love so deep that you would send you only son to make sure we remained in a perfect relationship with you. Thank you for such love. Thank you for such mercy. Thank you for such grace. Help us to live in that love, Help us to walk in that mercy. And help us to share that grace with all those we meet.

Let each moment of our lives reflect to those around us the same love you have given so freely to us. May every day of our lives bring us ever closer to you. And may those in greatest need, those who feel most alone, those whose hunger is the deepest, those who are most oppressed, those who have nowhere left to run or nowhere left to hide, those who you loved enough to allow your son to die for, may each  one of them feel your presence in a special way this morning. 

And may your presence so move us this morning that we would seek out those we know are in need. Allow us to be your love incarnate to bathe the dirty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless, and above all, forgive us our indifference and lack of compassion, and  grant us the grace to simply be your disciples in a broken world. In your son’s name, Amen.

Pope Francis at the FAO: “Starvation is Scandalous”

I am pleased that Pope Francis is serious about his commitment to the poor and hungry. Here is an unedited press release from the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization of the Pope’s address to that body. This is a faith leader leading by example.

 

Pope Francis: Starvation in a world of plenty “scandalous”

©Osservatore Romano
General of the Papal Audience held in the Sala Clementina with FAO delegation and Pope Francis

20 June 2013, Vatican City/Rome, Italy – Pope Francis lauded participants in the 38th FAO Conference for working together against hunger but urged countries to “move beyond indifference” in policies that exclude the most vulnerable and exacerbate hunger and poverty in the world. 

“It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous,” Pope Francis said, during an audience at the Vatican.

The Pope received the delegates, who represented countries from every region of the world, in keeping with a tradition that began 60 years ago. He thanked and encouraged FAO for its work. 

Saying the global economic crisis could not “continue to be used as an alibi,” the pontiff added, “The crisis will not be completely over until situations and living conditions are examined in terms of the human person and human dignity.” 

The pope warned that people and their dignity risked “turning into vague abstractions in the face of issues like the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalization, the violation of basic liberties, and financial speculation, which presently affects the price of food, treating it like any other merchandise and overlooking its primary function.” 

“There is a need to oppose the shortsighted economic interests and the mentality of power of a relative few who exclude the majority of the world’s peoples, generating poverty and marginalization and causing a breakdown in society.” 

Mohammad Asif Rahimi, Chairperson of the FAO Conference and Afghanistan’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock was joined by FAO Director-General Josè Graziano da Silva and hundreds of representatives of FAO member countries from every region of the world. 

“It was inspiring when His Holiness stated that a way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth in a fair and just manner,” Rahimi said. 

“FAO, in turn, is counting on the impact that Pope Francis and leaders of all religious faiths can have in mobilizing governments, organizations, companies and communities to take action and defend the right to food of those who are most vulnerable,” Rahimi added.

 “The fight against hunger must have no color, no religion, no political affiliation. Ending hunger is absolutely necessary if we want a truly sustainable and more secure future. It makes political and economic sense, but morally and ethically, it is also the right thing to do,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva added. 

“Two weeks earlier, Pope Francis spoke out against the culture of waste that leads to the loss of 1.3 billion tons of food every year. The pontiff said that it was ‘like stealing food from poor people’, and he was right. But we are also squandering entire generations of lives to starvation, inadequate nutrition and poor health. And this is hurting us all,” the FAO head said.

The FAO Conference is the organization’s highest governing body. Delegates represent FAO member countries, which number 194 in all.