33 U. S. Federation Justice and Peace Personnel from across the United States have been stretched and challenged, encouraged and affirmed in our quest for justice by Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. For two full days, into our work for the common good she wove together the vibrant threads of contemplation, lived experience, human stories of injustice that reduce us to tears and poems she has written.
She also drew on the work of Walter Bruggeman, who in his book, The Prophetic Imagination named the ingredients essential to creating something new and vibrant:
- Long and available memory
- Touch the pain of the world as real
- Have an ACTIVE experience of hope
- Effective discourse across generations (Simone adds, and cultures)
- Capacity to sustain long-term tension with the dominant culture
Simone reminded us that in truth we will never achieve all that we set out to do, we will always be on the road. Just get used to it. Get used to the tension, keep moving forward, keep looking up (God is with us) and never give up.
We prayed and had conversations, named the persons or situations that make us weep, listed fears and the things we grasp onto. And in the midst of it all we checked in with our “long and available memory” regarding the societal shifts brought by the civil rights movement, women’s movement, …… we stated our longing for unity/wholeness,/connectedness.
In the final analysis, it really is simple. As CSSJ Federation Justice and Peace Personnel, Justice is mission. NETWORK has made a commitment to consider the impact of any policy through the lens of 100% of the people; use the language of economic health when discussing the economy; remember that civil obligation is a civil right; and that we must face the fact of death and dying in our society, ourselves, institutions, ways of organizing, etc.
Conclusion; Justice IS mission! Don’t forget your stories. Change takes a long time, live with the tension in dominant culture. Communicate across generations and cultures. Be people of hope. NEVER GIVE UP!
JUSTICE IS MISSION.
Posted by Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate