“But to become a refugee advocate would split my family, alienate my parents and lose me my best friends!”
Such was a participant’s conflicted response at a recent refugee seminar. All will empathise with the self-doubt that floods one’s mind when one is about to adopt a life-defining stance. Consequently, when I initially adopted a pro refugee stance, I could not guess at the extent of un-friending that would occur on my Facebook page.
Not to worry, both the participant and I are in very good company because Jesus too had to endure the wrath of kith and kin when proclaiming his mission and ministry. Fortunately, years of contemplating his identity had ensured he was sufficiently comfortable in his own skin to, “walk right through the crowd and go on his way.” Lk 4:30.
Parker Palmer, an author with a focus on education and spirituality has stated;
“in the midst of a death dealing situation …. (people) make a basic decision … to no longer behave differently on the outside than one knows one’s truth to be on the inside.”
Indeed, it is up to each person to acknowledge one’s inside truth, for it is as if this voice of authenticity is the voice of God who, according to St Ignatius, created humans for the sole purpose of praising, reverencing and serving Godself. Richard Rohr identifies the premise of such service as a recognition of the divine indwelling in every being, which leads to a life of generosity and justice. Through the grace of God, it is compassionate recognition of the divine indwelling in every being that will negate society’s demonization of the outsider and foster kinship among every being.
Contemplation upon one’s inside truth is indeed contemplation upon the voice of God whose call is to respond with courage and compassion against the scourge of injustice.
(Image by Johannes Rapprich on Pixabay)
Steve Jorgensen M.EdL, B.Ed Hons, commenced teaching 48 years ago, 31 years of which have been in Religious Education as the Head of RE in both NZ and Australia. In 2005 he had the blessing of undertaking the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius with Fr John Drury S.J. Subsequently Steve did the Arrupe Programme training as a Giver of the Exercises, and in his semi-retirement is excited about the prospect of participating in the programmes of the Faber Centre of Ignatian Spirituality, especially its ministry to schools.