I believe in the interconnectedness of all that is. All people, places and things are intimately linked with one another. No person is an island unto himself or herself. No country stands in isolation from the rest. We are all in the same boat, Mother Earth. Together.
I have learned that believing that we are all intertwined calls for a posture of openness towards the other, indeed on a profound level, it invites me into a place of surrender, so that rather than being defensive or moving from my ego, I want to embrace other people’s lives.
When I was a child growing up on Long Island, NY, I would have said that there were two groups of people in the world, Catholics and non-Catholics. And though I was raised with great respect for all persons and religions, there was a sense of separateness that carried with it a bit of triumphalism, and a caring that was doused in pity. I can hear my dear mother saying, as we were told to clean our dinner plates, “Remember all those starving babies in the world.”
How I have grown in my understanding of the big questions conjured up by that 1967 Dionne Warwick hit “Alfie!”
Today I am convinced that all things, animate and inanimate, are interrelated and that this carries with it a clarion call to justice. This means that I am troubled when I see that there are too many babies’ bodies strewn with flowers, dead because they do not have access to proper hydration and nutrition. It means that in a genuine sense I am one with nature. Fire, wind, earth, and air are my sisters and brothers.
I have often said that I had two high school educations, one at Bishop Mc Donnel in Brooklyn and the other on the subway as I had a three-hour daily Long Island commute. As a teenager, my heart’s eye saw this wonderful web of all races, cultures and religions riding those subway cars. This has led to the belief that it is to tables we must come, and once there feast on listening to one another so that the bridges of mutual respect and kindness can be built.
Today I work in an urban parish, which is affiliated with students from all over the world. This, alongside my own travels and studies, has affirmed that I must participate in tearing down the walls of triumphalism, imperialism, sexism, racism, homophobia, and fear-filled or dominant attitudes of any kind.
Lo and behold, I do believe that this vision of our all being interwoven makes it impossible to fully know who I am without placing others, the world in which we live, God and me, on the same plate. This stretches me to mindfulness in every human encounter, tenderness towards myself, and reverence for sightings from the smallest insect to glorious sunrises and surging seas, as well as a persistent query into what place God has in all of this.
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