A NEW YEAR
– A TIME TO CHOOSE
BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT
by Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
Some time ago I heard a story of a young man on a horse, riding
very swiftly along the road. A farmer was standing in a field along
the roadside. He shouted at the man on horseback: "Sir, where are
you going?" The rider turned around and shouted back: "Don’t ask me.
Ask my horse."
Many people today feel very much like that rider. They feel they
are no longer in charge of their destiny and lack a sense of
direction in their lives. They feel swept along by the pressures and
distractions that control the lives of many today. They lack a sense
of belonging and relatedness. This is often presented as one of the
greatest needs of the 21st century. People from different
cultures, races, economic conditions and backgrounds feel this lack
at the very center of their lives. Many are hoping churches will
step forward and help restore hope to children and their families
and all people in this situation and address the root causes of the
problem and not just cover up the cracks in the systems. That effort
will challenge our values and lifestyle and more. Fr. Richard Rohr
also points out that many of God’s people barely survive and even
starve for lack of hope and meaning. He says many have made
happiness and contentment largely impossible, based largely on
having instead of being. ®. Rohr, Center for Action and
Contemplation, Reflection for Dec. 16th, 2010).
Frequently our solutions for a better future are on a surface
level, such as in the area of technology, business, addressing
terrorism and other areas of concern. While exploration in these
areas is required, we also need to find a deeper spiritual
foundation to create a new and sustainable foundation for meaningful
Youth need a consistent message and lifestyle and adults to model
it for them in a consistent way. From that stable base they can find
their rightful place in our world and experience what a healthy,
meaningful and happy life is meant to be. . What price are we
willing to pay to restore balance and harmony and meaning for the
sake of our present generation and for generations yet to come.
We need to name the structures and systems we have created that
have fettered, disempowered and starved the majority of human being
across the globe. Beyond naming, we need the moral courage to put
people before acquiring and possessing and begin relating to each
other as brothers and sisters, not as Black or White, Brown or
Yellow, rich or poor. We need a new vision for sharing power and
resources for all people.
We also need to redirect the trillions spent on armaments toward
education, health care for all, job creation and other human needs.
By continuing the armaments race, we are adding to the world’s
violence and death.
Consciousness of our human value is the only place to start.
Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic, got it right
when he said: "consciousness precedes being. Hope starts in the
human heart." He believed we need to get in touch with real truth
about ourselves and all human beings and from there to create
systems and structures that support human life in all its forms.
When we reclaim our inner spiritual resources, that will enable us
to have the moral courage to bring about needed change, starting
with ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us "we are all
tied together in a common garment of destiny." That is a good first
step toward achieving unity and purpose, harmony and peace. We are
all people of one body, mind and spirit, worthy of respect,
encouragement and opportunities for growth. As Gandhi once said: "We
must go broader and higher." By connecting with people globally, who
are on a spiritual path, it will make all the difference. It is a
journey worth starting and sustaining. Let us begin today with
courage and hope.
A blessed New Year to all!