Interdisciplinary Vision

Besides envisioning external structures, we also need to reflect on our internal "structures" our attitudes, our values.  I suggest we move from excessive competition and separation to sharing and cooperation.  Our envisioning needs to be interdisciplinary because all on our planet is an interconnected whole.  The task may seem overwhelming at first, but it's a challenge for groups rather than something we can do by ourselves.  And the challenge is worth it.  Why do we often feel so helpless in regard to the Holy Land, Syria, the Sudan, etc. etc.?  I  think it's because of the structures we have to work with.  We can't write without a pen or a pencil or send an e-mail without a computer.  Without adequate structures we can't deal with many issues facing us.

When I started to study and work for a peace with justice so many immediate peace and justice emergencies crowded upon me, I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I decided I needed a long-range vision to give me perspective. Once I had a vision, I could prioritize appropriate steps toward the vision. Without a vision I found it hard to decide where to begin or what to do next. Without a vision, I found my agenda was often determined by the agenda of the principalities and powers. The US invades Iraq. So I react to what those who have an opposing vision want. I may be able to fit my positive vision with current events if only to contrast what is happening with what could and should be happening. But I don't let current events distract me from my positive vision.

Reality includes structures graced by God such as the family and faith based communities like Christian Life Community. There are also sinful structures in the wasteful violent culture all around us. Social sin is the atmosphere of a community that compels us to kill each other in order to solve disputes. Social sin is an atmosphere of selfishness and arrogance

I want to make these main points:  1.  I'm talking about envisioning structures and sub-structures.  2.  I'm talking about the minimum structures that our human family needs to reach the beginning of basic human rights for all.  3. I think the practice of envisioning structures is most valuable for each one of us and for all of us together.

Envisioning structures is worth millions, billions, trillions of dollars. Indeed it's priceless!  If that seems like an exaggeration, visualize for a moment a world in which there is no war system.  Nations resolve disputes by negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and if all else fails, by law.  Think of the lives that would save.  Imagine the financial and human resources that would be available for health care, education, employment, the arts, the environment!  If we could establish a structure that would enable us to end the war system and bring about fair world trade, wouldn't it be worth the time, energy, money and imagination such an enormous challenge would call for?  

Envisioning structures doesn't make them a reality, but it does give us long-range goals.  The first section to the left on Care of the Earth shows how each structure of the five pillars presented in my DVD are helps to better care of the planet on which we live.  But all of the sections work together.  Just as the five fingers of my hand work together as I grasp the steering wheel of a car, so the main external and internal structures presented here work together to reinforce one another.  We can't expect that a perfect world will just happen. Nothing will work if we don't work at it.  But we can at least go in the right direction and establish structures that will make it easier to be good.

 If you pray, pray for Peace.  If you meditate, meditate Peace. If you dream, dream of Peace. If you hope, hope for Peace.  If you envision, envision Peace. Peace on Earth. Good will to all.  Thanks for all that has been.  Hope for all that can be.

 

In his visit to Brazil in May, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, stated the importance of structures: "The encounter with Christ in the Eucharist calls forth a commitment to evangelization and solidarity; the Eucharist awakens a strong desire to proclaim the Gospel and to bear witness to it in the world so as to build a more just and humane society. From the Eucharist a civilization of love springs forth that has and will continue to transform Latin America, making a Continent of Hope, a Continent of Love.

How can the Church contribute to the solution of urgent social and political problems such as poverty, the growing distance between the rich and the poor, drugs, alcohol, false pleasures? . . Just structures are a condition without which a just order in society is not possible, but structures neither arise nor function without a moral consensus on fundamental values, and the need to live these values, even when living God's values goes against personal interest. Contact with God is essential if Latin America wishes to find consensus on common moral values or the strength to live according to our values.  Just structures will never be complete in a definitive way. As history continues to evolve, structures must constantly be renewed and updated. . friendship with Jesus is essential if we are to bring about just and loving structures.  We need to have concern for the human community but also for the protection of the natural environment of which we are all a part." (See Origins, May 24, 2007, Volume 37, No. 2.)

Structures are the way we organize our world and our lives externally and internally. Government, corporations, the church, the family are external structures.

Our Faith, our values, attitudes, philosophy of life are internal structures.

An external structure is the way things are, the way we do things. Although society once had barter, now we use currency. Since there were not many horseless carriages in the beginning, automobiles managed on their own. Now we have stop signs and traffic laws.

 

The purpose of ordering our structures and relationships is to bring us into closer and more intimate relationships with God, our neighbor, our planet, and all living creatures.  To St. Ignatius Loyola, this is the purpose of the Spiritual Exercises, to put more order into our own lives and into the world around us.

Visioning gets us out of the present and gives us hope. Visioning helps us to set priorities. After we vision together, we can divide responsibilities on our way toward the vision. No one can do everything. All of us can do something.  Refining our vision, perfecting structures and sub-structures is the work of groups, universities, groups of universities, Christian Life Community, Pax Christi, etc.

 

To envision: the act or power of imagination; unusual discernment or foresight; an imaginative conception of the future.  The ability to generate a vision more in accord with God's Word is a beautiful and energizing grace.
George Bernard Shaw:  "You see things and you say, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say 'Why not?'"

Vision is more than temporary goals.  Vision is something enduring, a big truth, a higher purpose that draws us toward the future.  It's an image of what should  be.  A vision inspires groups to join in promoting the common good.  The Declaration of Independence lead the British colonies to give birth to a nation grouded in "certain unalienable rights. . .among these...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

 So many of our dreams at first seem impossible.  As we proceed together our dreams become more probable.  With God's help they eventually become inevitable.  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a nation "where my children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed."

In the movie You've Got Mail  Tom Hanks runs Meg Ryan out of business but explains that "It's nothing personal."  Meg responds, "What does that mean?  It may not be personal to you, but it was personal to me and to a lot of other people.  And what's wrong with being personal?  Whatever else something is, it ought to begin by being personal."  My dream, your dream is personal.  It means a great deal to all of us.  What is more personal than ending the war system?

Our dreams are as realistic as the foundations we put under them. The future belongs to those of us who can imagine a world different from what we now experience.  If we don't have ideals, our world will go backwards instead of forward.  We need to begin or join movements toward our vision.   I have begun a Vision of Hope Team

"Purpose: In joy and in the Spirit to favor love over hate, hope over despair, faith over doubt. To envision internal and external structures that will make our planet sustainable and our human family more ethical and moral; practicing active non-violence, waging peace, seeking to establish security and justice; insisting on basic human rights; working toward economic democracy and committed to forming a democratic world federation to act as a legal governing body for the Family of Nations---(See Love in Truth No. 67 Pope Benedict XVI www.vatican.va) Envisioning, going forward, searching for old and new ways and structures in a balanced and peaceful manner, through collaboration, negotiation and mediation to promote, refine, and implement a vision of hope.

Membership: Any person willing to educate themselves and others and then work in their own situation and in their own way to implement a vision of hope in accord with one's time, energy, relationships, and commitments.

For my own vision see this web-site www.xavier.edu/frben/"

"To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally, making it the pólis, or ?city?. The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them."  Love in Truth, No. 7 Pope Benedict XVI

"May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know him clearly.  May he enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you, the wealth of his glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe.. . The Father has put all things under Christ's feet and has made him thus exalted, head of the church, which is his body: the Fullness of him who fills the universe in all its parts." Ephesians 1.16-2.10.

Our present can make us seem exiles, refugees in a foreign land.  The war system, global climate change, violent governments ignoring basic human rights, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, terrorism, an oppressive economic system, crime, violence seem to engulf and overwhelm us.

In the First Hebrew Covenant the prophet Habakkuk 1.1 complains to God: "How long O Lord? I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me: there is strife, and clamorous discord. . . 2.2 Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live." In 600 BC there was internal corruption and dissension. There was oppression by Babylon who was besieging Jerusalem.

The vision of faith has an inward dynamism moving forward to its ultimate fulfillment. We need in faith, hope, love to promote that vision.

In the Christian Covenant those who are wise follow a star, do not allow themselves to be tricked by any Herods, take another route if the way to the star seems blocked.  By together creating a vision of hope, then working to make our vision a reality, we follow the star that is a light for everyone, Jesus Himself!

Ephesians 2.19-22 reads: "Sisters and brothers: you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens,  the holy ones, and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord: in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." This would be mixing metaphors, but of course is similar to the five pillars of my Vision of Hope which truly are built on Scripture, the Church, Christian Life Community, and Christ Jesus Himself, the foundation.  My five pillars of the Vision of Hope are simply ways of building on the Apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the capstone.

Keep in mind that I encourage not heaven on earth, but minimum structures for a world in accord with God's Word. A couple planning their own house want at least a roof to keep out the rain, and a way to stay warm in the winter.

When we vision, we can't consider obstacles. If a couple begins by saying we'll never be able to pay the mortgage, their defeatist attitude will stop them in their tracks. What are the minimum structures that we need? Obstacles can be considered later.

Although we don't want to limit the power of God's grace in our lives, we don't have to have our complete vision immediately. There are steps along the way. The International Criminal Court, a Permanent Peacekeeping Force, the Law of the Seas Treaty, the Covenant to End Discrimination Against Women, are important steps toward democratic world order. 
 

In the gospel of Luke 4.18, 19 which builds on Leviticus 25, Jesus has a vision of a fresh start for each human person and for our whole human family. Jesus wanted a world in which each one of us has at least the minimum essentials of livelihood. What is the vision of Jesus today for our peace.? The way of Jesus is the way of non-violence, justice, forgiveness, and love.

Because of original sin, I think our present vision of the world is murky and cloudy. Perhaps together and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can get our vision of where we want to go back in focus. We need "a sustained interdisciplinary dialogue of research and reflection, a continuous pooling of expertise. The purpose is to assimilate experiences and insights according to their different disciplines in 'a vision of knowledge which, well aware of its limitations, is not satisfied with fragments but tries to integrate them into a true and wise synthesis.' "(Pope John Paul II, Address to Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, May 5, 2000, n. 9 cited by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. in address to 28 Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Santa Clara University, Oct. 6, 2000.)

The whole idea of visioning world structures may seem daunting and overwhelming. But I never underestimate the will and power of God for good. Nor with God and God's Spirit within us, our own power of together making a world more in accord with God's Word. The establishment of the International Criminal Court, the European Union, the culture of human rights in our world have been nothing short of miracles. With one another and with God's help, starting small, we can go forward with a vision of peace. Perhaps one part of our vision appeals to us more than others, and we want to develop and work say for an aspect of non-violence.

In the midst of our efforts for a better world, we don't want to underestimate the good being done in our world and all the good that has been done over the centuries.

Envisioning new structures gives us hope.  Moving toward our vision gives us hope. " All serious and upright human conduct is Hope in action."  Pope Benedict XVI. http://www.vatican.va Spe Salvi  No.35. . Upright human conduct is Hope in action in the sense that we thereby strive to realize our lesser and greater hopes, to complete this or that task which is important for our onward journey, or we work towards a brighter and more humane world so as to open doors into the future. Yet our daily efforts in pursuing our own lives and in working for the world's future either tire us or turn into fanaticism, unless we are enlightened by the radiance of the great hope that cannot be destroyed even by small-scale failures or by a breakdown in matters of historic importance. If we cannot hope for more than is effectively attainable at any given time, or more than is promised by political or economic authorities, our lives will soon be without hope. It is important to know that I can always continue to hope, even if in my own life, or the historical period in which I am living, there seems to be nothing left to hope for, only the great certitude of hope that my own life and history in general, despite all failures, are held firm by the indestructible power of Love, and that this gives them their meaning and importance. Only this kind of hope can then give the courage to persevere.

Certainly we cannot "build" the Kingdom of God by our own efforts.  What we build will always be the kingdom of man with all the limitations proper to our human nature. The Kingdom of God is a gift, and precisely because of this, it is great and beautiful, and constitutes the response to our hope. Heaven is always more than we could merit, just as being loved is never something 'merited', but always a gift. however, it will always be true that our behavior is not indifferent before God and therefore is not indifferent for the unfolding of history. We can open ourselves and the world and allow God to enter: we can open ourselves to truth, to love, to what is good. This is what the saints did, those who, as "God's fellow workers", contributed to the world's salvation (cf. 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Th 3:2). ..So on the one hand, our actions engender hope for us and for others; but at the same time, it is the great hope based upon God's promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad."

What does the world need? Visioning can help us to clarify the greatest and most essential needs and how new essential structures would complement one another and work harmoniously together.

What are my talents, strengths? What do I like to do? Where are my passions, desires, and ambitions? These questions can help us discern our long-range and short-range call from God.

There is no one more dangerous than someone who has every reason to hate and nothing to lose. We need to promote the basic human rights of each human person so that each person has every reason to love and everything to lose.
 

Trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, let me share a dream with you, a vision not of a perfect world but a better one, a world more in accord with God's Word. I'm not so presumptuous as to think that the dream presented on my web-site is a dream Jesus dictated to me. But I have meditated on Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church and of other Churches for a long time. I have read, studied and taught the social teaching of the Catholic Church and of other religions. I have had many experiences and dialogues. I have traveled with peace groups to many different countries.

I think the basic outlines of the vision I have at this time is the vision of Jesus for our peace. The way of Jesus is the way of non-violence, justice, forgiveness, and love. The details of my vision are the result of my experience and insights. Hopefully, Jesus has co-insighted, co-felt, co-decided with me in my journey toward a just and peaceful world.

I invite everyone who feels energy around visioning to dialogue with me and search together how the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola can interface with the creation of a peaceful world.

I have a strong and deep passion for peace and justice which began with my experience as a member of the 86th Infantry Division during World War II. This passion has grown and deepened imperceptibly over the years. My long years of study and prayer have not dimmed it nor lessened the passion. Indeed my relationship with God has moved me outward toward my neighbor and the earth. The commitment of my religious order to faith and justice thrills and energizes me. Since I have come to Xavier University, my involvement in peace and justice activities has further deepened my passion. Despite my pain at what I perceive as the needless suffering of so many, I feel that my commitment to peace and justice has been a grace.

I think I need to serve others with my hands, love others with my heart, but also use my mind to study the causes of war and injustice and my imagination to vision a world of peace with justice. I strive for a revolution of consciousness, a critical mass of awareness that will push the human family forward. As Victor Hugo has said, there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.  Pleasure disappoints, possibility never.  And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility."  Soren Kierkegaard, Lutheran Danish Existentialist philosopher." Hope is waking dream. " Aristotle.

When I started to study and work for a peace with justice so many immediate peace and justice emergencies crowded upon me, I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I decided I needed a long-range vision to give me perspective. Once I had a vision, I could prioritize appropriate steps toward the vision. Without a vision I found it hard to decide where to begin or what to do next. Without a vision, I found my agenda was often determined by the agenda of the principalities and powers. The US invades Iraq. So I react to what those who have an opposing vision want. I may be able to fit my positive vision with current events if only to contrast what is happening with what could and should be happening. But I don't let current events distract me from my positive vision.

Reality includes structures graced by God such as the family and faith based communities like Christian Life Community. There are also sinful structures in the wasteful violent culture all around us. Social sin is the atmosphere of a community that compels us to kill each other in order to solve disputes. Social sin is an atmosphere of selfishness and arrogance. In my vision there are five major pieces, or pillars, that we need to focus on to build a world with just structures..

Like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. let me share the details of my dream with you. There are many blank spaces in my dream. Perhaps you have a completely different dream. I just hope that you will vision structures you think we need to make this the beginning of a civilized world. My dream needs as a minimum a world ethic; non-violence, basic human rights, economic democracy, a democratic world authority. Care of the Earth is part of each pillar above. Each structure would include sub-structures such as the nation state, ways of being effective citizens, corporations, ways of being effective stockholders, Labor Unions, churches, etc.

History is the truth of the past. I think we need to assimilate our past to be more genuinely present and make decisions in the Spirit for the future. Although it builds on the past, utopia is the truth of tomorrow. By utopia I do not mean heaven or perfection but the beginning of a humane, civilized world.

Utopia is a vision of the future. St. Thomas More's Utopia in 1516 built on Plato's Republic around 400 B.C. "Restrict this right of rich individuals to buy up everything and this license to exercise a kind of monopoly for themselves." Thomas More advocates laws that limit the amount of land and income an individual may have. Utopia leaves time for citizens to be human. Time is to be set aside for intellectual and spiritual pursuits.

Thomas Jefferson felt that preserving the family farm was essential if we were to keep our democracy. Abraham Lincoln wanted government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Franklin Delano Roosevelt thought unemployment is morally the greatest menace to our social order. President Roosevelt was strong in his hatred for war. "More than the end of war, we want an end to the beginning of all war."

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

"A public trust to establish community ownership of common wealth at the national, state, regional, and local levels could in turn produce a stream of income, part of which could be used to provide needed services; part of which could provide economic stability and security for individuals and communities." Dr. Gar Alperovitz

"Few things paralyze us like the short-sighted 'realism' that expects no surprises in history.  Locked into the apparent possibilities of the present, realpolitik cannot move beyond the 'war on terror,' nuclear deterents, and free-market anarchy.  It is clear-sighted about selfishness but blind to human goodness and, especially, to divine grace.  We have a right to dream.  Utopian imagination is part of reason . . .What churches should do for us is nourish an experience of transcendence, a shared praxis, and an alternative vision; and help us sustain that alternative in a hostile environment and communicate it to others.  The first Christians faced just this challenge:  to conserve and transmit their experience of Jesus and his vision."  Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J. The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times, New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of St. Ignatius of Loyola. pp. 165, 167.

God's peace is more real than anything we know. I'm glad I, like many others, have had the grace to reach out toward a peace with justice and try to bring that peace to the "real world," a world of war, violence, injustice, lack of freedom, self-deception, oppression, narrow-mindedness. The Popes have consistently said that if we want peace, we must work for justice. The struggle for a peace with justice is not always easy, requires study and analysis, spiritual discernment, and a sustained commitment. God's peace is really real. The world of war, violence, secrecy, and injustice is a world of shadows.

"What is hope?  It is the presentiment that imagination is more real and reality less real than it looks.  It is the hunch that the overwhelming brutality of facts that oppress and repress is not the last word.  It is the suspicion that reality is more complex than realism wants us to believe; that the frontier of the possible are not determined by the limits of the actual, and that in a miraculous and unexpected way, life is preparing the creative events which will open the way to freedom and resurrection."   Rubem Azevedo Alves, Brazilian theologian, philosopher, educator, writer, and psychoanalyst, was born on 15 September 1933.

There is no one more dangerous than someone who has every reason to hate and nothing to lose. We need to promote the basic human rights of each human person so that each person has every reason to love and everything to lose.

The Thirty-second Jesuit General Congregation suggests new ways of loving our neighbor. Like the corporal works of mercy, social service meets immediate needs, as for example the Red Cross when it helps victims of a flood. Social action engages in social analysis and tries to analyze the causes of suffering. Is it strip mining that is the origin of sudden flooding? If it is, we engage in social action. When dialogue with the coal companies gets us nowhere, we lobby for strip mining legislation. Both social service and social action are necessary and complement one another. But social analysis and social action moves us beyond social service. We need to love our neighbor so much and so well that we're willing to examine and re-examine any structure that may be oppressing her or him.

Business corporations today are structures with a life of their own. Corporations become objects that live on long after their founders have died. Today we have schools, advertising, sports, forms of government, attitudes, cultures that have become social structures. Present structures can be graced social structures or sinful social structures or mixed with some of both graced and sinful. Racial segregation in the United States was a sinful social structure. Small social action communities are graced social structures. Advertising can be a mixed social structure. There is an advantage in letting others know what you have for sale and the quality and price of the product. But the almost frantic push for greater profits leads 5th Avenue to put greater emphasis on material possessions than on personal relationships.

To examine social structures, society needs social analysis. Jesuit training and education can engage in this analysis of the signs of our times. The Thirty-second Jesuit General Congregation recognizes that one of the strengths of the Society of Jesus has been its training in spiritual discernment. Retreat work has always been a priority. Now spiritual direction can give the resources to discern what direction small social action communities can take. We need the courage to see the evil in ourselves and in our world.

Decree Four of the Thirty-second Jesuit General Congregation advises Jesuits therefore to deepen their prayer life, to practice discernment, to analyze the structures, and to work to promote the basic rights of all, especially the poor and the powerless.

Decree Four also calls Jesuits to theological reflection, "carried on in a context which is both interdisciplinary and genuinely integrated with the culture in which it is done." This I think leads Jesuits to peace studies which is now in several Jesuit Universities.

Not only does the Thirty-second Jesuit Congregation list goals but a way of proceeding, communal apostolic discernment, "a transformation of our habitual patterns of thought through a constant interplay of experience, reflection and action." (no. 40) Jesuits need to be involved in the lives of the poor in order to know their joys and hopes, their grief and anxieties. Jesuits need to use intelligently social and cultural analysis. If Jesuits are faithful to the process, "we will then understand better how the service of faith and the promotion of justice are not two juxtaposed, much less conflicting, goals but a single commitment which finds its coherence and deepest expression in that love of God and love of neighbor to which God calls us in the One Great Commandment." "One cannot act justly without love. Even when we resist injustice we cannot prescind from love, since the universality of love is, by the express desire of Christ, a commandment that admits of no exceptions." "To attain this universal love, we must continually learn how to seek God in faith, both for his own sake and as the abiding source of all justice and love." (no. 45)

Truly we are technological giants, but are we moral infants? The Jesuits at the Thirty-second General Congregation again and again point to our free choices as the true cause of injustice. It's not the laws of economics which we have freely created. It's not our human nature. It's not our lack of intelligence. It's our lack of will. That's a spiritual problem.

What structures are necessary for there to be a world more in accord with God's Word? The five pillars I presently use as a framework for peace is a world ethic, non-violence, basic human rights, economic democracy, a global world authority with care of the earth part of each.

If a local community had a system that promoted the basic human rights of all, practiced at least the fundamentals of active non-violence, and enjoyed economic democracy, would that local community be a peace zone? If the local community became a peace zone, could that lead to peace elsewhere? Conversely, can the local community have a peace with justice if the rest of the world is at war and dominated by unjust structures? For a clear connection between the global and the local, see Making a Place for Community, Local Democracy in a Global Era.

Although I certainly want an absence of war, negative peace; I also want positive peace, a presence of justice. As I will explain elsewhere on this web-page positive peace includes basic human rights, civic, political, economic. Basic human rights include solidarity rights, the right to a democratic world authority. Economic rights would include economic democracy, the right to have a real say concerning the means of production, the factories and farms. Basic human rights can be secured through the various forms of active non-violence including a discerning and faith-filled Ignatian spirituality.

The first act of the US Revolution began in 1776. I think it remains for us to write the second act and perform it. This second act would truly bring liberty and justice for all, for each human person, created in the image and likeness of God The second act would be non-violent, courageous, imaginative, and comprehensive.

With Victor Hugo, I believe there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. For forty years the US was enslaved by the bad idea of mutually assured destruction. Now we are imprisoned by fear of terrorism. With the help of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola we can develop enough spiritual freedom to let our courage and hope prevail over our fear and apathy.

The Millennium can mean a period of prosperity. I pray that this prosperity be for all, that each human person have at least their basic human rights. I dream of a responsible freedom in which individual growth is balanced with the common good and security of all.

"When I dream alone, it remains a dream; when I dream with others, my dream becomes a reality." Christian Life Community.

"The Tofflers wrote, 'Toleration for error, ambiguity and above all diversity backed by a sense of humor and proportion are survival necessities as we pack our kit for the amazing trip into the next millennia.'"(Imagine What America Could Be in the 21st Century, Visions of a Better Future from Leading American Thinkers, ed. Marianne Williamson, p. 215)

In 1540 St. Ignatius of Loyola and eight fellow students at the University of Paris dreamed of an innovative religious order. An integral part of their spirituality was the freedom from domination by inner insecurities, a freedom to have eyes wide open to what's really happening, a freedom to think new thoughts, a freedom to dream, a freedom to "make believe." Today followers of St. Ignatius strive for that same inner freedom, freedom from domination by addictions and negative drives, a positive spiritual freedom to imagine a world with structures different from what we now experience.
Let us sing a new song to God!

My vision is not of "heaven on earth" but of the minimum external and internal structures that we need to make this a civilized and livable world, a world more in accord with God's Word.  By an external structure I mean how we have organized our world. We have stop signs and traffic signals in order to make traffic flow safer.  We have organized government, corporations, schools to better serve us.  We also have organized our inner selves. Even if we haven't formed an explicit philosophy of life, we do have convictions, attitudes, values.

I developed my vision over the last fifty years and corroborated it during my doctoral dissertation by fifty extended interviews with those committed to faith and justice. In my vision there are five major pieces, or pillars, that we need to focus on to build a just world.

The first pillar of a new world order is to develop and begin to live a global ethic. Religions are exploring today what they have in common. We need to establish world-wide moral guidelines as we move together toward a common future of peace. The World Parliament of Religions has declared we are all interdependent. "Each of us depends on the well-being of the whole. . .We consider humankind our family." Shouldn't we acknowledge ourselves as citizens of our country, but also as citizens of the world?

We add the second pillar of a new world building when we create a culture of non-violence, healthy and positive relationships, persuasion rather than coercion. If we are treated unjustly, we can strike back violently or we can be prudent and simply keep quiet. Imaging a third alternative, active non-violence is an historic development on a par in the evolutionary process with the breakthrough to intelligence. It will change our future in a radical way. Non-violence has many components, education, conflict resolution skills, appropriate laws, intelligent and reflective voting, prayer and meditation.
 

The third pillar of a new world structure is promotion of a culture where basic human rights are second nature. God did not create us to be essentially frustrated. Natural human rights are pleas to one another for our basic material, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. The new Constitution of South Africa gives each person the right to shelter, to health care, to food, water, education; the right to live in a healthy environment.  We need new national constitutions and a new world constitution that will make basic human rights part of our legal structures.

The fourth pillar of a new world building are economic structures through which the people can participate in policy decisions. Made in the likeness of God, we have the right and responsibility to make our own decisions on basic fundamental issues. We can control corporations externally by laws and agencies. We need legally to expand the bottom line of corporations to include care for the common good. We can better control corporations by ownership. The worker-owned cooperatives such as Mondragon are democratically structured. Rather than a limited number of large conglomerates, there should be widespread ownership of the means of production, the factories and farms. Ownership is power. Those in the political realm hesitate to alienate those who own the factories, farms, banks, transportation, communications media. Widespread ownership would be check and balance to government at all levels.

The fifth pillar of a new world structures is democratic world order. The Catholic Catechism urges us to pray every day that we be free of the "ancient bondage of war." Since law distinguishes terrorists from the innocent and determines degrees of guilt, something bombs cannot do, law is a more humane way to provide security. Although the UN has made many important strides toward a peace with justice, the present UN is only a confederation. A stronger, more democratic body needs to be imagined. Although law needs to be more humane and infused by the Spirit, law can bring us order, stability, and security. One of the greatest men of the 20th century, Pope John XXIII, made a democratic international structure a moral imperative.

A democratic World Authority, economic democracy, a culture of basic human rights, non-violence, a global ethic are pillars of a new world mansion.

As the five fingers in our hand are interconnected and work harmoniously together, so the five pillars presented above function smoothly together.  If one finger of our hand were cut off say by an industrial accident, the finger could not exist apart from the hand.  One pillar will not hold the building together. It will collapse.

There are also internal structures in all of us, our attitudes, our values, our philosophy of life. Do we have an attitude of sharing or of hoarding and grasping?

Do we value community, love of others, the earth, animals? Is God the center of our lives?

"The same Presence who nurtures us in the inner world accompanies us through the outer. . .If our vision borders on the unrealistic  we apply the acid test of prayer: whether it leads to action. What were the Old Testament prophets doinhg if not imagining another order, where the poor would not be stepped on and the gap between them and the wealthy would not stretch so wide?  Didn't Jesus invite people to imagine a world where no one was marginalized? . .Anne Kelly: 'Within the Christian tradition, sacramental celebrations can be interpreted as the poetic texts that have enabled Christians to imagine newness and possibility, by proposing to the imagination new ways of being in the world. . .If we are to be a people who can reconstitute the world, we need to be thinking and imagining differently. . .A love of life and all its processes demands a conversion of the imagination to this new way of seeing.  It is a radical reversal of the familiar patters of domination that are death-dealing to their core.  It is a vision of reality as graced to the core. . Walter Brueggemann praises 'this outrageous practice of speaking alternative possibility.' It stands up to the powere that reduce human life to dullness. .it announces a better world, new possibilities, 'relentless hope.'  "See I am making all things new' Revelation 21.5  Kathy Coffey, God in the Moment, Making every Day a Prayer pp. 144, 5.


 

How do we proceed toward the vision? There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. Some seem to think if we use the word "God". we don't need research, dialogue, and communal discernment. We need to get in touch with our light and dark graced stories. How has God loved us in good times and in bad? How have we taken that love to others?  How has God been with us in the evil we have experienced?  How is God calling us to move our dark story to the light side of the ledger?  What are our internal structures, our attitudes, our values, and convictions?

We need to expand our experience by contact with the materially poor and marginalized.  We need to leave our comfort zone and see the world through the eyes of those who are suffering. Actually all of us lack our fundamental right to world peace with justice.

When we see injustice we need to ask "why?" We need to do research and social analysis. "Who is making the decision? Who is benefiting from the decision? Who is paying the cost of the decision? We pray at Catholic Mass: "Keep the church alert in faith to the signs of the times and eager to accept the challenge of the gospel."

We need to engage in theological reflection, having the values of Scripture and the churches interface with the world in which we live. Jesus became man that all of us might have life and have it more abundantly.

Writers as far apart ideologically as St. Ignatius of Loyola and the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre agree that we need to be honest with ourselves. St. Ignatius has developed skills in discerning positive drives within us from negative inner movements. Christian Life Community embodies this process today.

Small religious communities need to make decisions for social action within a definite time line. None of us can do everything. All of us can do something.

We need to evaluate how faithful we have been to the process. We will not always experience immediate external success.

To sum up, I came back from my time in the 86th Infantry Division during World War II with a passion for a peace with justice.  I felt there had to be a better way.  I decided  becoming a Jesuit priest was how I could best pursue a peace with justice. Over the years so many worthy causes clamored for my attention I often was overwhelmed, bewildered, and confused.  I couldn't see the forest for the trees.

I decided to get a long-range vision not just for what I wanted to do personally, but where I wanted our world to be, ignoring all obstacles.  Gradually over the years I decided the structures of a new world would have at least five pillars: a culture of basic human rights, an atmosphere of non-violence; some form of economic democracy; democratic world authority; and a global ethic.

I also developed a way toward my vision: getting in touch with my light and dark graced story; doing research and social analysis; working at theological reflection; making a decision for social justice rather than social service for a definite time-line; evaluating how I was following the process. 

My vision helped me to prioritize.  What is the most difficult part of my vision to understand, accept, and achieve?  What are my strengths that would move others to think about and dialogue concerning different parts of my vision?  How could I best move toward my vision?  What groups are allies of my vision?  What are the chief obstacles to my vision?

I think it's valuable for each of us to form a vision for the structures we think our world needs to make it more in accord with God's Word. It can lift us out of the present and the past and move us together toward a world more in accord with God's Word. Not that study of the present and the past isn't valuable for forming a vision of the future. Especially students can begin to form their vision of the future and their place in implementing that vision. Keeping a record of our insights and experiences are helpful in this process. Part of our experience should always be hopeful, positive, and loving.

A vision of hope doesn't plan for heaven on earth, but does vision the minimum structures that we need to make this a livable world.

We don't have to wait until our full vision is implemented.  We can begin now to take small steps toward our vision. The more we read, study, and discuss, the more refined and developed our own vision will be. We can also develop our vision with others in small groups.

If we have a vision, it can help us to prioritize what we are doing now. I hesitate to let my priorities be determined by those who are going in the opposite direction. I don't want to react just to what the current mode of thinking is, but be free to think new thoughts and take new approaches.

When we vision, we ignore all obstacles. Obstacles can be noted but dealt with later. If a young couple is drafting plans for a home, they want at least heat in the winter, shelter against rain, etc. They don't begin by saying they'll never have enough money to get the minimum.

A global ethic has care of our one planet as a whole, a global ethic recognizes that we are one human family. Pope John XXIII thought that a democratic world authority was a moral imperative. Moving all of us together toward that part of a global ethic is a daunting challenge but one that is absolutely necessary. If we believe that a democratic world authority is essential for a peace with justice as I do, then we will join an active practical group like Citizens for Global Solutions. We will study the story of the International Criminal Court and work to have all nations especially our own join the International Criminal Court. All the sections of the vision or fingers of the hand are inter-related. One won't work without the other.

You're welcome to explore this web-site. www.xavier.edu/frben

See also Elise Boulding, Building a Global Civic Culture: Education for an Interdependent World, NY: Teachers College Press, 1988: pp. 95-117: "Uses of the Imagination" and pp. 140-59: Peace Praxis: The Craft and Skills of Doing Peace."

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion." Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame.

Peter L. Benson, President of Search Institute (www.search-institute.org) Vision,Awakening Your Potential to create a Better World   "Vision at its best captivates and energizes. Each owns the vision.  All join hands in one aspect of the vision.  Vision is long-term and big picture. Many hearts and souls are committed to a shared and common purpose." (p. 11) 

Dr. Joseph Wronka: "A human rights culture is a "lived awareness" of human rights principles among people throughout the world. By "lived awareness" I mean that the principles of such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not known merely cognitively, that is, in the "head," but also on the feeling level, the "lived" level of the heart. It is not good enough for society to only "know," for example, that health care, shelter, and security in old age, for example, are human rights, it is important for a society to act upon this knowledge in ways that can guarantee these rights for every person, everywhere. Issues, of course, are complicated. Every right does have a corresponding duty, according to the Universal Declaration, such that it can easily be said that what we are talking about is a culture of human duties. Thus, the right to health care requires the duty for each of us to keep healthy, eat correct foods and exercise, for instance. Yet, we must remember that it is the duty of government to create a "social and international order" as stated also in the Universal Declaration so that food is nutritious, accessible, culturally relevant at an affordable cost and that our towns and cities have ample enough opportunities for us to develop not only in body, but, mind and spirit as well.

Finally, as we shall see, such a culture will necessitate a "lived awareness" of the interdependency and indivisibility of rights. In other words, roughly, as organs of the human body function interdependently, so, too, do human rights. In brief, the right to health care, for example, is dependent upon such rights as education (our health personnel must be educated); employment (they must receive a meaningful wage); and rest and leisure (they must have ample time to rest). What further complicates matters is also what has become known as "cultural relativism." Thus, some cultures might believe that it is appropriate for a couple to be betrothed, rather than "choosing" each other, even though choice of spouse is considered a human right according to the Universal Declaration. Although we may also have a "knee jerk" response to condemn cultures that engage in practices like female genital mutilation (FGM), we must recall the ancient injunction to examine the log in one's eye before plucking it from another's. Thus, some cultures condemning practices such as that may be rampant with deaths from anorexia nervosa or they may be stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, threatening the basic human right to peace.

Creating a human rights culture, then, is a kind of paradox. On the one hand, we have the standards set out in major human rights documents drafted by the United Nations and to some extent regional organizations like the African Union, the Organization of American States, and the European Union. On the other hand, we must recognize, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Chairperson of the Drafting Committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, who said of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that it was a "good document... not a perfect one," and that human rights discussions cannot take place in philosophic-historical vacuum. Perhaps, it is our questioning together, acknowledging the importance of incorporating the voices of the oppressed in the policy debates, or what the philosopher Merleau Ponty has called the "happiness of reflecting together," that may help us bring about such a culture where we treat one another with decency and human dignity."

Joseph Wronka is Professor of Social Work, Springfield College, 263 Alden Street, Springfield, MA 01109 USA and Principal Investigator of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Project, Brandeis University, Heller School for Social Policy and Management (originating in the Center for Social Change), Waltham, MA. He is also President of Human Rights Action International (HRAI) located in Amherst, MA. He is also author of Human Rights and Social Policy in the 21st Century: A History of the Idea of Human Rights and Comparsion of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights with United States Federal and State Constitutions and numerous scholarly publications and popular articles on human rights education and social action.

My web-site contains how I have developed my vision thus far.  Since my training is mostly in philosophy, theology, and spiritual discernment, I approach my vision mostly from those disciplines.  As various kinds of human rights and duties work together in a similar way as the various organs of our bodies are coordinated, so the various parts of the vision on this web-page are interconnected..

I think the Xavier community could together develop a collective vision of a better world from various disciplines, experiencing  the "happiness of reflecting together."  Then Xavier could direct its research and teaching to perfecting that vision.  This section is to invite you to contribute to whatever you think the structures are that our world would need to make it more in accord with God's Word, basic human dignity, and the integrity of God's creation.  This section is an invitation to dialogue on what it would take to move toward a world peace with justice.  I welcome your contribution.  e-mail me at Urmston@xavier.edu

Questions for further thought, study and research:  Do I accept the basic outline of the vision presented?  If not, what is my vision?  If so, what part of the vision do I want to develop? e.g. within the vision of a world democratic authority, do I want to develop the religious aspect, all races and peoples have the same origin and destiny, the same Creator, the same final goal, union with God and one another? 

Do I want to pursue the scientific aspect, all races and peoples are the same species, homo sapiens? Do I want to pursue the legal aspect, if I were writing a world constitution, how would I put checks and balances in the constitution?  How would I follow the principle of subsidiarity?  How would I outlaw war?  Promote and protect basic human rights?  economic democracy? 

Do I want to be a politician and persuade all nations to accept a democratic world authority?  Do I want to develop the philosophical aspect, how all have the same human nature, intelligence, free will, emotions; how all races and peoples are bound together by the same basic rights and responsibilities?  Do I want to develop the economic aspect, all races and peoples should have a place at the table and share in the same global economy  Do I want to develop the environmental aspect, all races and peoples live on the same planet?

If I believe in economic democracy, will I study the history of corporations, the assets and liabilities of present economic structures? Will I study alternative economic theories?  If I believe in basic human rights, how will I promote a culture of basic human rights and responsibilities?  If I believe in non-violence,  do I need to make changes in my own life style?

As a community, do we accept the basic vision?  If so what part of the vision do we want to develop as a group?

Is there a way for us to proceed together toward a common vision?  Do we want to examine faith-based communities such as Christian life Community as a way to proceed toward a common vision?

We have before us life and death. Let us choose a globalization of the Spirit, a globalization of hope. Let us choose life.

 

Vision of Hope in Jewish-Christian Scripture

Hebrew Covenant

Shalom, God's gift of peace, derives from a Hebrew root meaning wholeness or completeness, the state of positive well-being that is our task as God's co-workers to help realize. Tikkun olam means healing the world. Shalom includes union with Yahweh. Yahweh is peace, Yahweh-Shalom (Judges 6.24)
Leviticus 25. During the Jubilee year, wealth and property are redistributed.
3 Kings, Chapter 3. Solomon does not ask for riches but to discern right from wrong. Solomon does get material goods, but moral judgment is his priority.
Psalm 85. 9 "God proclaims peace to his people, and to His faithful ones, to those who put in Him their hope. Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth."
Sirach, Ecclesiasticus, 34.21,22 "The bread of the needy is life itself for the needy; he who withholds it is a man of blood. He kills his neighbor who deprives him of his living; he sheds blood who denies the laborer his wages."
Jeremiah 29.11 "I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord. .plans to give you a future full of hope. When you look for me, you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart."
30.22 "You shall be my people and I will be your God."
 

Scripture holds up for us a vision of peace. Isaiah 2.4 "God shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." Zechariah 9.9-10."Your King shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; the warrior's bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations."

Isaiah, 9.4-6 "Every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. For a child is born to us, a son is given us. Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." (The Messiah)
Isaiah 11.1-10 "The wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den and the child lay his hand on the adder's air. .There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord as water covers the sea."
25.6 " on this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces. .The Lord has spoken."
12.2 " God indeed is my savior. I am confident and unafraid. My strength and courage is the Lord."
30.18-26 "God will give rain for the seed that you sow in the ground, the wheat that the soil produces will be rich and abundant. .your cattle will graze in spacious meadows. . Upon every high mountain and lofty hill there will be streams of running water. .the light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater."
31.4-9 "You will sing as on a night when a feast is observed and be merry of heart, as one marching along with a flute toward the mountain of the Lord, toward the Rock of Israel, accompanied by timbrels and lyres."
32.1-8 "The eyes of those who see will not be closed; the ears of those who hear will be attentive. The flighty will become wise and capable, and the stutterers will speak fluently and clearly. No more will the fool be called noble nor the trickster be considered honorable."
32.15 ff "The Spirit from on high will be poured out on us. The desert will become an orchard. Right will dwell in the desert and justice abide in the orchard. Justice will bring about peace; right will produce calm and security. My people will live in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and quiet resting places."
45.1-13 "Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth. Let justice also spring up!"
52.7 "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news."
Psalm 19 "The decrees of the Lord are truth and all of them just. They are more to be desired than gold, than the purest of gold and sweeter are they than honey, than honey from the comb."
Psalm 96 "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. Sing to the Lord. Bless His name. Announce His salvation, day after day. Tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples his wondrous deeds."
Psalm 98 "Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song. With trumpets and sound of the horn, sing joyfully before the Lord."

In the First Hebrew Covenant the prophet Habakkuk 1.1 complains to God: "How long O Lord? I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me: there is strife, and clamorous discord. . . 2.2 Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live." In 600 BC there was internal corruption and dissension. There was oppression by Babylon who was besieging Jerusalem. The vision of faith has an inward dynamism moving forward to its ultimate fulfillment. We need in faith to promote that vision for our own day.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 20.18.

 Nehemiah 8.9 "Today is holy to the Lord your God.  Do not be sad, and do not weep; for today is holy to our Lord.  Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength."

Christian Covenant

Jesus indicated his peace was unique. "Peace is my farewell gift to you. I do not give it as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful." (John 14.27) "In Me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world." (John 16.33)

Although I have always tried to live the peace of Christ, I don't identify the peace of Christ with political and economic peace. I look upon integral peace as grace and mystery. Comprehending peace can be as elusive as God, the author of peace, or the human person, who never fully reaches peace, or the human family, who at this stage groans and is in agony as it searches for peace. I don't think we should be too quick to conclude that we fully understand what the peace of Christ is or can be.

Luke 2 Simeon: "Jesus is a light of revelation for all nations."
Luke 4.18, 19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore He has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord."(See Leviticus 25.10 "This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.")
Mark 1.11 "You are my beloved Son: with you I am well pleased."

St. Paul in prison about 63 AD to Colossians 3.1 ff "Since you have been raised up in company with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms where Christ is seated at God's right hand. . When Christ our life appears, then you shall appear with him in glory. . What you have done is put aside your old self with its past deeds and put on a new personality, one who grows in knowledge as we are formed anew in the image of our Creator. There is no Greek or Jew in the Christian community, circumcised or uncircumcised, foreigner, Scythian, slave, or free. Rather, Christ is everything in all of you. Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect. Christ's peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs. Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through him."
St. Paul to the Philippians 4.4-5 "Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!. .the Lord is near."
Philippians 3.20 "We eagerly await the coming of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. . He will renew our lowly bodies and make them like his own glorified body."
1 Thessalonians 3.12-13 "May the Lord make you overflow with love for one another and for all, even as our love does for you."

Christians might reflect on St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians 1.17. "May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know him clearly. May the Spirit enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you, the wealth of his glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe. It is like the strength the Father showed in raising Christ from the dead and seating him at his right hand in heaven, high above every principality, power, virtue, and domination, and every name that can be given in this age or in the age to come. The Father has put all things under Christ's feet and has made him, thus exalted, head of the church, which is his body: the fullness of Him who fills the universe in all its parts."

2.19 ff. Ephesians 2.19 ff  You are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God. You form a building which rises on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is fitted together and takes shape as a holy temple in the Lord; in Him you are being built into this temple, to become a dwelling place for God in the Spirit.

Acts.  2.44 ff.  "Those who believed shared all things in common; they would sell their property and goods, dividing everything on the basis of each one's need. With exultant and sincere hearts they took their meals in common, praising God and winning the approval of all the people."

 Revelation 21.1-5  "Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.  The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race.  He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.' The One who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new."  (5th Sunday of Easter.)

Fourth Week or Grace of Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

 In the fourth week I  "ask for the grace to be glad and to rejoice intensely because of the great glory and joy of Christ our Lord."  As I rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus, so I also am glad for the light graced story in my own life and throughout history.  We can become so involved with the dark graced story that we neglect the light graced story and we lose perspective. "Consider the office of consoler which Christ our Lord carries out, and compare it with the way friends console one another."  "I will call into my memory and think about things which bring pleasure, happiness, and spiritual joy, such as those about heavenly glory."

Where do we find the Risen Jesus today?  In the Eucharist, God's Word, in all those who work for peace and justice.  How can I further take the Risen Jesus to others?

In the fourth week we can dwell on our personal and group light graced story.  We need to savor the light graced story.  St. Ignatius concludes the Spiritual Exercises with a contemplation of God's love for us and our return of God's love.  "Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will--all that I have and possess.  You, Lord, have given all that to me.  I now give it back to you, O Lord.  All of it is yours.  Dispose of it according to your will.  Give me love of yourself along with your grace, for that is enough for me."  Too often we want material things which will allow us to impress others with our importance.  Our greatest sense of self-worth should come from the realization that God loves us and that we have been able in some small way to return that love.

"The Word of God became man and lived in our world.  Jesus reveals to us that God is love, that the fundamental law of our perfection and of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love. Jesus assures us who have faith in God's love that the way of love is open to all and that the effort to bring about love of all humankind is not in vain."  Vatican II,  Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 37, 38

Divine Office

p. 169 St. Bernard: There are three comings of Jesus. In the first coming He was seen on earth. In the final coming we will see the salvation of our God. In the third coming between the first and the final, Jesus comes in spirit and in power, like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the final coming. In the middle coming Jesus is our support, our food for the journey, our consolation and rest. "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will Love, him, and we will come to him."
Let God's Word take possession of your desires and your whole way of life.

p. 163 The Lord will dawn on you in radiant beauty. You will see His glory within you. "From the root of Jesse a flower will blossom. The glory of the Lord will fill the earth and all creation will see the saving power of God." p. 304 If one hopes, even though his tongue is still, he is singing always in his heart.
p. 385 Unto us a Child is born, a new splendor has appeared; you have brought to us abundant joy; as with the joy at harvest. .every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak that rolled in blood will be set aside, will go to feed the blazing fire (Isaiah 9.4, 5).

Preface for the Second Mass of Reconciliation:  

The very last Mass in the Appendix of the Sacramentary is the Mass for Reconciliation, number II. The Preface reads: " In the midst of conflict and division, we know it is You who turn our minds to thoughts of peace. Your Spirit changes our hearts: enemies begin to speak to one another; those who were estranged join hands in friendship, and nations seek the way of peace together. Your Spirit is at work when understanding puts an end to strife, when hatred is quenched by mercy; and vengeance gives way to forgiveness."
 
21. For the Progress of Peoples is on p. 901, also toward the end of the Sacramentary. The opening prayer reads: " Father, you have given all peoples one common origin, and your will is to gather them as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of all with the fire of your love and the desire to ensure justice for all our sisters and brothers. By sharing the good things you give us may we secure justice and equality for every human person, an end to all division, and a human society built on love and peace."
 
Prayer Over the Gifts: " Fill all with the spirit of the daughters and sons of God until all injustice is conquered by love and there is one family of humankind established in your peace."
 
Prayer After Communion: " You renew us with the one bread that restores the human family to life. By our sharing in the sacrament of unity, fill us with a strong and unselfish love that we may work for the progress of all peoples and lovingly bring the work of justice to perfection."
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                            Vision of Hope Team

  Purpose:  In joy and in the Spirit to favor love over hate, hope over despair, faith over doubt.  To envision internal and external structures that will make our planet sustainable and our human family more ethical and moral; practicing active non-violence, waging peace, seeking to establish security and justice; insisting on basic human rights; working toward economic democracy and committed to forming a democratic world federation to act as a legal governing body for the Family of Nations---(See Love in Truth No. 67 Pope Benedict XVI www.vatican.va)  Envisioning, going forward, searching for old and new ways and structures in a balanced and peaceful manner, through collaboration, negotiation and mediation to promote, refine, and implement a vision of hope."

Membership:  Any person willing to educate themselves and others and then work in their own situation and in their own way to implement a vision of hope in accord with one's time, energy, relationships, and commitments.

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.  Do justly, now.  Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.  You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."  The Jewish Talmud

For my own vision explore this web-site. www.xavier.edu/frben   As I journey through life with Jesus and with all of you, my dream becomes refined.  Nor have I attempted to present the dreams, philosophies, theologies of the great thinkers of our day. I have always been moved by the dream of Father Pierre Teilhard De Chardin.  "All of evolution points toward the transcendent Omega-Christ and is moving toward the risen Jesus.  Evil can be understood as part of a world of becoming. . evil cannot stop the world's progress toward the Omega point.  When creation is joined to God, evil will disappear."  Joseph Kelly The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition, p. 224.

 "God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart.  . . The expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one. for here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of forshadowing of the new age. . . After we have obeyed the Lord, and in His Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured."  Vatican II, no. 39.

Light Graced Hope

Revelation 21. 1-7 I John, saw new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer. I also saw a new Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne cry out: "This is God's dwelling among humankind. He shall dwell with them and they shall be his people, and He shall be their God who is always with them. He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away."

The One who sat on the throne said to me, "See, I make all things new!" Then he said, "Write these matters down, for the words are trustworthy and true!" He went on to say: "These words are already fulfilled. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To anyone who thirsts I will give to drink without cost from the spring of life-giving water. He who wins the victory shall inherit these gifts. I will be his God and he shall be my son."

John 6: 54 ff "He who feeds on my flesh and drinks of my blood has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink. The person who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the Father who has life sent me and I have life because of the Father, so one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and died nonetheless, the person who feeds on this bread shall live forever." John 14. 6. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life."

John 14. 23 "Jesus answered: "Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him." John 15.4 "Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me."

 3/1/14