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Active Hope

[caption id="attachment_1781" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP[/caption]

"Do not be afraid"

There is a low grade anxiety in me these days as we get closer to the new political era that is about to begin. Inauguration Day is making me feel like a dark cloud is on the horizon. Do you feel it too? Scripture says so often, "do not be afraid." But I am worried. I fear for the undocumented person, those who depend on the Affordable Care Act that will soon be gutted, and I fear for other people who are depending on this new administration to create something better for them. I suspect a great disappointment is coming.

I feel safe...

I'm a privileged white person, economically secure and I feel safe. I have no fear for my own life and it would be so easy to sit back in my armchair and say, there is nothing I can do.

Active Hope

And so I returned to a familiar book that has me thinking about hope. Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone wrote an incredible book that is so timely for us now, I urge you to read it. In "Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy," they say:

active-hope_cvrActive Hope is not wishful thinking. Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued by the Lone Ranger or by some savior. [with a small s]. Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act. We belong to this world. The web of life is calling us forth at this time. We've come a long way and are here to play our part. With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store, strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with. Active Hope is a readiness to engage. Active Hope is a readiness to discover the strengths in ourselves and in others; a readiness to discover the reasons for hope and the occasions for love. A readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts, our quickness of mind, our steadiness of purpose, our own authority, our love for life, the liveliness of our curiosity, the unsuspected deep well of patience and diligence, the keenness of our senses, and our capacity to lead. None of these can be discovered in an armchair or without risk.

I admit, I have been sitting in an armchair wondering how hope might be enkindled anew, how hope could be given at the start of a new political era none of us have seen before. It is a time of anxiety for many. Active hope calls us to connect with others, link arms with new companions, to go more deeply, to resolve more fervently to live and proclaim the Gospel of peace.

Playing my part

This being January, I'm not a big fan of making New Year's resolutions, but this year is different. I see more clearly that justice will need a strong and clear voice in every corner. My active hope is to find ways to add my voice to those who work for justice. My active hope is that I can play my part in bringing hope to those in need of it.
Dear God, Let me not be afraid. Keep me be awake to the beauty of life on whose behalf I can act. Ready my heart for engagement, ready my heart to discover the strengths I already have. Lift me out of my armchair, help me to take risks on behalf of those without hope. Amen.

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