If you have been following some of the national political discourse lately (hopefully only after you’ve prayed up), you may have noticed that it has in many respects been reduced to a sad, run-of-the-mill reality TV show.
As I considered the state of the conversations coming from the leadership of our nation, I recalled an address Pope Francis gave to a joint meeting of Congress that was shared with the American people. What stood out from his message was that the United States should use its power to heal the “open wounds” of a planet torn by hatred, greed, poverty and pollution. The Pope implored us to “move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.” The Pope’s words struck a lofty note for unity, despite the controversial issues he addressed during his talk. Ironically, hours after the Pope left, Congress went back to business as usual: a cycle of paralysis and divisive politics. The common good appeared to have been lost in the shuffle.
The Pope was clear on where he stood on the issues and challenges that face us today. While I didn’t necessarily agree with every position he presented, I appreciated the clarity of his intentions and perspectives. His unwavering conviction in his ideals inspires the question, “what should a spiritual being and planetary citizen stand for in today’s world?” I imagine the response would go something like this:
“I stand in the belief that each person is a unique, inimitable gift to our world.” We are here to find our purpose and be these one-of-a-kind gifts to our friends, families, loved ones, businesses, communities and the organizations we are part of.
“I stand for releasing the misguided belief that we are less than the greatness we are destined to be.” While we may have expressed less and identified as being less, we can never be less than the grand beings we are meant to be.
“I stand in believing we are here to make a difference.” We are here to express the qualities of the people who have made great contributions to others, their organizations and communities. If we can see those qualities in someone else, they undoubtedly live in us, as well.
“I stand in holding that we are to usher new ways of being in the world.” This includes new ways of leading, new ways of handling conflict and new ways of meeting the challenges and crises in our lives and our world.
“I stand for creating a new definition of success.” This new success has something to do with being of service to an idea bigger than ourselves. When we dedicate our service to a cause greater than we are, everything we need is provided along the way.
If we were to follow the above principles, we would move toward healing those open wounds that the Pope referred to in his address before Congress, as well as the divisiveness we see in the political arena. We cannot rely on government alone to do it. We cannot project our society’s challenges onto the government officials and politicians, who simply follow the lead of the consciousness of our country. The work begins with you and me as instruments of the Spirit. When enough people rise up, see spiritually and practice these ideas and ideals, the politicians will follow.
The politicians will probably claim it’s their idea. But that’s ok with me.
Peace and Blessing,