Thursday, July 07, 2005

Clarissa of "Clarissa--Chissling at Stone Walls": a voice in the desert.

Prophets are everywhere in our midst. God calls out for justice for the marginalized through them everyday. Clarissa joins their ranks today:
If I, in Canada, have such a hard time dealing with sexual violence with support and therapy, how much harder is it for these people who suffer in silence and oppression and in a place where violence is the norm rather than the exception? Why aren't we crying for our world, crying with those who are suffering in such incomprehensible ways? It breaks my heart to see how immoral our world has become and how many people desperately need hope and how many people desperately need to find God in the midst of their chaos. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are so very few. We are so comfortable. When will we learn to give up a small morsel of the overflowing abundance that we have? When will we stop closing our eyes to the impoverished world that we live in? We're so spoiled in North America. We really are. If all of us spent as much effort to save our world as we did in our appearance and wealth, our world wouldnt be as disgusting as it is. I am ashamed of my own ignorance and complacency to the cries of my needy fellow human beings all around the world.
She makes no tired call for the revolution of the worker. No, her cry is God's cry. We ignore it at our peril:
This is not the way our world was meant to be. Can we not all open our eyes and make a difference in our world? It is not one giant act that will change the lives of the nations but a collection of small deeds by single individuals.

Listen to her words echoed in the Gospel, when Jesus predicts his return in Glory to judge the living and the dead:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations 15 will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous 16 will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
17 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
18 Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."(Mt 25:32-46, NAB)
I tremble when I hear our Savior's words. I do not share nearly enough of the bounty I have received. Too often I consider myself among the struggling, as though I were one of the working poor in need of sympathy and assistance. What an idiot I am! My family suffers not a night without food or a comfortable night's sleep. I sit in an air-conditioned home in the summer, and a heated one in winter. I own property and possess assets. I enjoy life in the greatest country on Earth. How can I dare consider myself poor? My only consolation is the contributions to our Church that we make. Even this is small comfort, for it neither sufficient nor consistent enough. Yes, I tremble when I hear his words. I would do well to plead for his mercy. My oversight is a suffering person's condemnation to the poverty that kills.

I have criticized the MSM for it's cheerleading of the Live8 extravaganza. While my points were valid, they were incomplete. The musicians that performed have guided conversations around dinner tables and water coolers to Africa. All across the West the dark continent makes it into dialogue. They have raised the awareness that far too many of us sit complacent in our comfort. Yes, governments must make efforts to end the dictatorships that misallocate their country's resources and oppress their people. Meanwhile, we must all find a way to help. We must make certain our governments pressure these Banana Republics to receive--with no corrupt strings attached--any aid that comes from charities or private individuals. We need to contribute to those organizations that offer the most hope to the suffering there. And everywhere else.

In short, we need to listen to Clarissa's true prophecy. We must become part of that new Tsunami of compassionate individuals that can offer the difference between life and death. Only then do we truly welcome our Lord.