|Blog by Ana Gonzalez|
I was introduced to the CDN tradition of watching the TV series, “The West Wing” during the pre-novitiate visit and orientation. I became immediately interested in the program featuring Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlett. As part of my novitiate experience I look forward to the evenings when we can sit, relax and watch an episode. During the last three months we have been able to explore the first season of the series, and can share that I am enamored with the character of Josiah Bartlett. While I know President Bartlett is a fictional character, I find his passion for justice, respectful and ethical approach to sensitive issue and reliance on his faith is inspirational. After a disheartening election last week, my inner idealists wished for President Bartlett’s administration, and longed for the peace of knowing that our elected leader would embrace the moral, faithful and ethical approach displayed in my new favorite series.
During the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, I was shocked by the rhetoric disseminated. As a Mexican-American, immigrant, woman, who takes pride in calling the United States home, I felt offended by statements made during the presidential campaign and the permission granted for repressed voices to speak against love and compassion. The morning of November 9, I found it difficult to believe the land of the free, the home of dreams and visions of justice for all chose to be led by a narrative of boundaries and fear against the other. The day following the elections I grieved thinking of Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the dreamers who risked so much so that I, a Mexican-American Woman, my family and many others, would have an active role in the American Dream. I became afraid by the unpredictability of the election, yet I was granted hope by Jesus!
|Group of youth encouraging voter participation.|
I am not sure if our Inter Congregational Novitiate (ICN) directors planned the topic strategically, but I was so grateful that the presentation of November 9 was on Jesus. I certainly was in dire need of Jesus! I was granted tools for healing and the inspiration in the presentation lead by Sister Colleen M. Mallon, O.P. , Ph.D. As part of her presentation, Sister Colleen reminded me that the foundation of my faith is in the invitation to be and live in God. God is the animating source and completion of a creation overflowing in love. The ever loving creator is animating all by the constant pouring and self-giving, hence God is in the loving with creation. We as creatures of creation are part of the divine in the giving of love. In Jesus, we have the full demonstration of God’s love and what it means to be human. Through the expression of Jesus we can experience the expression of the divine and are invited to be bold, humble and full of love.
I was blown away by the idea that God is always present, working in the midst of chaos and animating change. God is currently stimulating creation. It is out job as creatures to live in God’s love and be God’s love! As part of love, we are granted the gift of choice, where we can choose to embrace God’s creation by love or not. All of our choices have consequences, and I, for one, am very conscious of the past choices that contributed to my brokenness and hurt. However, even in my personal darkness and failings, I am loved unconditionally by God and in the darkest moments God has been present. As we all know, dark moments are not pleasant. During the presentation Sister Colleen reminded me that suffering is an element in the life of a creature. Suffering is a part of our complex and multidimensional story, but we are also meant to experience joy, and the embodiment of the vision of love. Sister Colleen reminded me that we are all God’s by embracing love and following Jesus. Ultimately, Jesus is the paradigm of love, inviting us to give and receive love, even in the face of adversity.
|Vigil for Peace at College Church|
Through the beauty of technology and FaceBook live, I had the great privilege of listening to the activist and academic Angela Davis who spoke from the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel. In her presentation she spoke of the need to build up our communities, stand up to injustice, and accelerate our grassroots efforts. Just like Davis, various voices are speaking up, encouraging us to take a stand against hate. Inspired by Sister Colleen’s presentation, I see the way to stand up by embracing the example of Jesus and loving. Hence, I here make my personal commitment to stand in peace against the wave of intimidation and harassment. I vow to speak up in love and trust that God is working at all times. Through inspiration, I invite you dear reader, to join me and consciously embrace love. Be bold, humble and full of love.
I leave you with a light though from the Kid President!
You Tube Video - Kid President on Disagreement