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Soul Mending

By Yvonne Zarowny



In response to my questioning our selective use of the adjective “evil,” a friend reminded me that “evil” written backward spells “live.” I love the insight.

To me, that “flipping” captures what it means for us to go joyfully forward, in our historical moment, as an Easter people. We are a people of faith. We believe in the resurrection.

This is not only of Jesus. It is also of our capacity, when joined with Spirit, to constructively engage our global monoculture of death to transform it into a variety of authentic cultures of life. The social structures of these cultures enable “justice” or “right relationship” with the Divine, each other and creation to flow.

This is beautifully brought home in the 2016 Development and Peace Solidarity Way of the Cross.

If you have not had the good fortune to have this powerpoint part of the Share Lent campaign in your parish, please do yourself a favour and look at it on the Development and Peace website.

In addition to the scriptural quotes and prayers, it has relevant quotes from both Misericordiae Vultus and Laudato Si’. With icons and pictures, this presentation effectively draws parallels between the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus and that of the poor, refugees and Earth.

As previously mentioned, I have been attending a set of sessions on St. Francis and Pope Francis.

The last session included a YouTube presentation by young American evangelical speaker Shane Claiborne. He explored the nature of “evil” and “demonic” in U.S. culture and faith. He basically stated anything “too big to fail” or “too absolute or ‘right’ to question” is demonic.  

In this session, he and Rev. Richard Rohr stressed how the Protestants got it wrong emphasizing only “individual” salvation. They both noted all covenants mentioned in the Bible are with “the people,” “the social set,” not an individual.

That was new to me.
This does not mean the individual is irrelevant. Of course, each and every one of us matters too and is deeply loved by the Divine. Each is called to be an active participant in the covenant.

However, the covenants are with communities, societies, the cultures we co-create.

If we are not engaging to transform our social structures to ones from which right relationship with the Divine, each other and all God’s creation flows, we are not living out our part of the covenant.

Think on that the next time you gaze upon a rainbow.

To the degree our church leadership, including our bishops and cardinals, identify “pro-life” with only fighting anti-choice legislation, they are complicit in perpetuating our monoculture of death.

They are part of the “theo-con” alliance inhibiting the transformation of what Oxfam calls “an economy for the one per cent.”

According to Oxfam, at the beginning of 2016, 62 people owned the same amount as the poorest half of humanity. In 2014, it was 85. Not long ago it was 500.

This rapidly increasing inequality costs millions their lives through lack of adequate health care, social instability leading to terrorism/war, accelerating individual and sovereign debt, and accelerating rates of environmental degradation — one symptom of which is climate chaos.

How is this not a pro-life issue?
In the March 9 issue of the National Catholic Reporter, there is an interview with the Irish eco-theologian Rev. Sean McDonagh. He states there is a need for a three-year synodal process to take the teaching of the “new spirituality” offered by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ to find ways of putting it into the practice of our faith. Why?
According to McDonagh, most people going into seminaries and schools of theology are not familiar with the issues threatening us and therefore cannot provide us with adequate leadership.

The St. Francis and Pope Francis sessions reveal the need for such leadership.

One gentleman asked how such inequality can be addressed without “class warfare.”

The Oxfam report quotes multi-billionaire Warren Buffet (fourth richest person in world) as stating we are in a class war. It has been going on for at least 20 years. And his class is winning. Aspects of this covert war are low/no taxes for the very wealthy while public health care, education, science, and broadcasting are defunded.

An educator, writer and engaged citizen living in Qualicum Beach, B.C., Zarowny is also on the leadership team for her parish’s Justice and Life Ministry.