In what has been an emotional week for our nation, between the Inauguration and the Women’s March and broad sweeping political changes, this message to you is a difficult one to write. Many are writing, speaking their minds about, and sharing articles, messages, social media posts and tweets about their views. People are engaging in politics in new ways, making calls to members of Congress, marching, and otherwise participating even when they hadn’t before. Our country is divided and our Catholic community is divided in all of this as well.
One of the pieces that I’ve read that stands out to me is from our friend Fr. Jim Martin at America Magazine. He writes about how we can be Pro Unity and Pro Voice in this day and age as followers of Christ.
In trying to process all of this prayerfully and to keep from becoming dispirited, my prayers lead me back over and over again to the Gospel message of love. This is what our faith is about – loving God and loving our neighbor. And it is what IVC is about. Ignatian Volunteers offer their time and hearts full of faith, hope, and love to their service sites, where they are a healing presence in a broken world. IVC is needed more now than ever.
What are we called to do in the midst of a difficult time? The Gospel this Sunday was about Jesus’ call to his apostles to “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. This open ended call is ours too. There are so many lines in our familiar songs that drive this home – “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”, “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?”, and countless others. How do we respond to this but with our actions. “Love manifests itself more in deeds than in words”. We can have an impact through IVC – whether as a Volunteer being the hands of Christ in an agency or in a support role as a donor who enables this work or as a Spiritual Reflector, Regional Council Member, or a friend of IVC. Our work truly changes lives, one at a time, and that’s where we can start with love.
I spent the last few days at Holy Cross College, my alma mater, in meetings with college leadership to share more about IVC’s mission and how we can work together. The time on campus brought back many memories and nostalgia, but most of all brought me back to my Jesuit education and formation as a “person for others”. If we can all live our daily lives as people for others, we can make America the kind of loving and healthy community God invites us to be.