This morning I woke up with Joan Chittister’s name front and center in my consciousness. I don’t think I was dreaming about her but I looked across to a little book of hers standing upright and face out on my bookcase across the room. “She must have something to say today,” I thought. My guess is that Sister Joan always has something to say and it’s usually important. The little book, entitled We Are All One, was written last year and contains the author’s reflections, as the subtitle explains, on “unity, community and our commitment to each other.” It could have been written by Lynn Bauman whom I quoted yesterday. It seems that many of us are waking up to the same or, at the very least, similar themes for living rightly in this world. Here’s a smattering of sentences from the introduction that sets out the foundation of all that follows. I believe the book will be among my reflection tools for the foreseeable future.
Life, we learn young, is one long game of push and pull. One part of us pushes us always toward wholeness…The other part, however, pulls us back into ourselves. It separates us from the universe around us and leaves us feeling distant and out of sync…We seek unity, yes. But lurking within every human act is the gnawing need to be independent, to think of ourselves as distinct from the rest of life…Is the purpose of the gift of life to consume it for ourselves…or is our purpose to join the human race on its way to fullness of life for everyone?
And then her conclusion: The choice is actually simple. We must only decide if we will go on lingering in the shadows of life, forever trying to choose between doing what a numbed world will call “nice,” or step up and, in the face of evil, proclaim instead what is right. (p.1-3)