Just Reflecting

“Just Reflecting” features a variety of blogs and bloggers discussing various social justice topics that we encounter in our daily lives, whether it be within our communities or own families.


Children Killing Children Must End Now – Part II

Blog by Associate Rev. Tim Ahrens, OPA

Three years ago I wrote an article for the Dominican Sisters of Peace entitled, “Children Killing Children Must End Now.” It was written days after the shooting in Chardon, OH, in a high school cafeteria in which one child killed three children and wounded three more. He did it with his grandparents’ 22-caliber handgun, which he took from their home on a visit.

When I was asked a few weeks ago to write again, I said “yes.” Since then I have sat down three times to write and came up empty. What can I say? What can any of us say? Continue reading →

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The Iran Deal as a Triumph for Peaceful Negotiation and Multilateralism

Alandra Scott
Blog by Dominican Volunteer Alandra Scott

On July 14, 2015, a historical agreement was established between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council including – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – plus Germany and the European Union. Due to the fear associated with Iran’s nuclear program this agreement has become a controversial topic in the news, as well as a divisive partisan issue.

The Iran deal is a joint comprehensive plan of action which will guarantee the use of Iran’s nuclear program for peaceful purposes only. The overall goal is to push Iran’s capability to manufacture a nuclear weapon from two to three months to a least one year. In order for this to happen, Iran must agree to significant changes in its use of uranium, centrifuges and plutonium.(1) Continue reading →

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Listening: The Most Neglected Aspect of Public Life

Reflection by Associate Ron Hustedde, OPA
Reflection by Associate Ron Hustedde, OPA

At a recent gathering of Dominican Sisters and Associates in Springfield, KY, I was amazed at the diversity and abundance of Dominican ministries that are linked with peace-making. The participants also talked about St. Catharine Motherhouse and how it is a sign of peace and welcome. One can viscerally sense the Divine Presence in our gatherings by just walking through St. Catharine’s doors. Continue reading →

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About Flags Coming Down

Diana Culbertson, OP
Blog by Sr. Diana Culbertson, OP

“It’s only a symbol” is a convenient excuse for dismissing invasive reality. Symbols depend on reality for their power, beauty and energy. If used over a long period of time, a symbol accumulates energy and by definition participates in the reality symbolized. Sacraments are specific symbolic actions, entering into the reality they symbolize. Water does cleanse; bread feeds; oil heals. The sacramental use of these material things offers more than material cleansing, feeding and healing – not because the accompanying prayers are magic but because God uses matter to cleanse, feed and heal us. How else can we be reached? We are not, as we have been reminded often, pure spirits. God reaches us where we are, marooned between heaven and Earth. Continue reading →

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Being Open in Mind and Heart

Roberta Miller, OP
Just Reflecting by Sr. Roberta Miller, OP

Once upon a time many of us took pleasure in hearing the bird-songs of summer, smelling the aromas of earth’s flowers and leaves or the lake and salt waters of the shores. Today our windows are closed for air conditioning against seasonal heat and humidity.

We are city people and a city is noisy, full of movement. If we sit quietly outside or open a window, we hear the constant flow of traffic, sirens and horns. How do we relate to our natural world environs? Recently I met a young man whose friends were driving westward. Stopped somewhere in Ohio, they called him and commented on how boring their drive was because they only saw trees.

Is this the issue underlining the current debate over climate change in the world? We city people have lost contact with and feel separated from the natural world?

The challenge presented us is to change our relationship to Earth. The facts of climate warming and its effects are in. Human activities with our technologies of fossil fuel energies and production methods have raised atmospheric heat beyond what is safe for human existence. Today Church and State are together in calling for recognition of Earth as belonging to all peoples. Earth’s resources are meant for all; the privileged minority must share abundantly with the vast majority of impoverished peoples.

The upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Paris, France, November 30-December 11, 2015, highlights issues requiring binding and universal agreement on climate. It will advise immediate action steps to reduce the dangerous atmospheric carbon storage and accumulation occurring. Climate change is defined to mean “a change of climate which is attributed directly/indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” (Natural variability can occur through volcanic activity or solar cycles as examples.) Among issues are the need for diversified agriculture, recovery of indigenous knowledge systems of food production, recognition of diversity in ecosystems with their impact upon carbon-oxygen exchanges, and recognition of the importance and primary place of women in the use of earth’s resources.

The facts and experiences of world climate alterations place women with their families in the center of poverty – 70% of the world’s poor are women. Droughts, floods, the loss of land and weather extremes are occurring world-wide. Diversified farming helps to sustain and promote sustainable food systems when climate changes occur in a region. Women are usually the first to experience the consequences of water scarcity and contamination. They are the ones who travel distances to get water as well as sticks for fuels. Their skeletal structures witness to the burden; their families become ill with the contaminated water—typhoid, dysentery, parasitical worms among other diseases. A glass of clean water is an unknown luxury for most families around the globe.

Laudato Si brings to the forefront the role of spirituality developed over the centuries in relationship to Earth. Close contact with “Mother” Earth awakens a spiritual relationship with Earth as in the Sioux prayer: “Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives to all that live.” The writers in the Bible experienced this relationship: “greatness and beauty of created things” by God is seen (Wis.13:5). Creation is of God, a gift, our common home. Creation is the order of Love of which Nature is a part – for in Christ were created all things in heaven and on earth (Col.1:16). Thus Meister Eckhart in the 13th century: “Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God.”

We are witnessing the largest number of refugees and displaced persons ever in recorded history, a consequence of human greed and the drive for power. This is a result of world inequalities in which 80% of world peoples are deprived of earth’s resources by which they might earn a living with dignity, integrity and respect. This poverty has close connections with the problems of human and organ trafficking, forced labor/slavery, prostitution, drugs, migrations and wars. When water, land, minerals and all creatures are seen only as commodities, we cease to see Creation as gift. When Creation is no longer gift, God disappears from our sight. Our skyscrapers, ever taller, become the new towers of Babel. Earth becomes “an immense pile of filth” in human and chemical wastes.

Let us read and ponder ; let us pressure our politicians to be open and willing to lead in fostering policies and actions for the common well-being of all peoples.

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