Is an election a referendum on What it means to be Human? Is it a referendum on our shared values, on the common good, on what we believe about what binds us together? (It is easy enough to recognize matters that distinguish us, separate us, and make us unique as individuals.)
But the bottom-line question–What does it means to be human?–begs for some shared ground, some sense of the commons, of that which unites us and holds us together as a species, as a community, as smaller communities within larger communities.
In today’s DM on Community—which is also Election Day–I would like to share a reflection that comes to me from beyond America, from a woman in Germany who has devoted much of her life to building community among the poorest of the poor in Napal, lepers and orphans and others of society’s “outcasts.”
I have shared her story and her Shanti community in some previous DMs. This is what she wrote me this past week.
We provide food for the hungry, shoes for children, who have bare feet – we distributed 1248 pairs, big and small.
We will distribute sleeping bags against the bitter winter cold to families living in nearby slums.
I hope that one day, we will be able to look back at the Corona crises and realize, that it made us more compassionate, more caring and knitted us together as a community of loving kindness towards the even poorer neighbors outside of our leprosy centre.
Two years ago, Kussum was left at her stepfather‘s, who refused to take care of her. One of our warmhearted leprosy patients, Harry, found her crying in the street. We took her into our arms and she stayed ever since.
Kussum soon felt at home with all her little friends and the deep sorrow in her eyes slowly, slowly changes into a smile. Shanti has become her real home.
I so much want that you may all feel that America is your real home again after the election, where there will be a feeling of togetherness in ethical standards, a strong wish to work together for a better future of all Americans, regardless of color, intellectual abilities, race and creed.
I so much want you all to feel that a new horizon opens up for you and that America shines again as a model of freedom of press, freedom of speech, justice and ethical standards in language and actions.
Only a few more days and you will go to vote for your next president. I sincerely hope that the American people will choose a man of integrity and compassion, honesty and a true feeling for the oppressed.
I will light a candle, burning throughout the election day, sending you thoughts of optimism and hope.
May this dream come true, dear Matthew,
God bless America and all her people.
It is good to know that others are praying for the best of the American soul to assert itself on full display this Election Day.
To learn more about Marianne Grosspietsch and her work with the Shanti community, go to: www. shanti-leprahilfe.de
You may also contribute at: Shanti Leprahilfe Dortmund e.V.
Viktoriastr. 18. 44135 Dortmund.
See Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion; and Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.
Banner Image: Shanti children in a traditional dance to mark Tihar, the Nepalese festival of light. Photo by Marianne Grosspietsch.
How does it feel to know that many beyond America are praying for a healthy election? How does it feel to hear of the building of community happening in Nepal at this difficult time of coronavirus?
A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice
In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
WEBINAR: Cultivate a Resilient Heart in Times of Suffering – ONLINE. Thursday, November 5, 8:30 PM- 9:45 PM Eastern (GMT/UTC-4). Register HERE.