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Tuesday, 28 June 2016 17:22

Affiliates Work for Wholeness

Written by Lenore Smith-Aman
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Lenore Smith-Aman – New Jersey Chapter

At a recent meeting, the New Jersey Affiliate Chapter explored what might be an Affiliate’s response to the present political climate, and ways to elevate the level of discourse. As people of faith and hope, imbued with the values of Maryknoll, what can we offer?

Our small group listed the concerns that are most pressing to us:


  • Serious issues being ignored in favor of inflammatory rhetoric.
  • Racism, lies, outrageous claims
  • Fear of polarization
  • Climate change
  • Supreme Court issues
  • Bullying in international relationships
  • Immigration issues, isolationist trends
  • Influence of Israel on our Middle East policies
  • Generalized feelings of anxiety/hopelessness about real solutions
  • Tendency to “escape from freedom” by giving power to demagoguery.

We discussed the ways in which we plan to “be the change we want to see.” Some of us plan to go door to door or do phone canvassing for the presidential and congressional candidates who are best able to address at least some of the issues. Others stressed the importance of discussing issues rather than personalities in every conversation about the election. Beth Begley referred us to an excellent brochure that outlines the issues. (A Revolution of Tenderness: 2016 Pope Francis Election Guide, https://paxchristiusa.org/resources/resources-for-election-2016/)

We Affiliates are not alone in our concerns. Many religious leaders have noted the levels of small-mindedness and hatred that are a part of the political landscape. Fr. Richard Rohr, OSF, recently said, “Our collective shadow is on display, exposing fear and bigotry, yet oppositional energies cannot bring about the change we so desperately need.” Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, in conjunction with other leaders, recently called on those in public life to hold themselves to a higher moral ground. She has started an on-line petition to that effect. (See www.groundswell-mvmt.org/)

Several of us have heard Ilia Delio, OSF, offer her insights or have studied with her at a Maryknoll Mission Institute. Our Affiliate group studied her book, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, and found it comprehensive and inspiring. Another of her books, Making All Things New, is the first book for the new Affiliate Book Group. Key concepts in the Delio books include wholemaking and evolutionary consciousness. Delio suggests that the way we consciously think about the future, the way we imagine it, can move our hearts and minds toward practical outcomes for the good of all.


In The Unbearable Wholeness of Being (pp. 195-6), Delio suggests a new level of consciousness:

The Christian is one who is connected through the heart to the whole of life, attuned to the deeper intelligence of nature, and called forth irresistibly by the Spirit to express creatively his or her gifts in the evolution of self and the world. Jesus is brought into being through community and participates in the co-creation of it. Hence what is truly Christological, revealing of divine incarnation and salvific power, must reside in connectedness and not in single individuals. We are called to live on the cusp of this evolutionary breakthrough, and this requires our conscious participation as co-creative agents of love—to be Christ anew; that is to penetrate the truth of the Christ mystery within ourselves, in other persons and nonhuman creatures as well. To live the mystery of Christ is to live in the freedom of the Spirit. (2Cor3;17)

Since we are connected to each other as Affiliates, how can we consciously and creatively work to transform the present political climate from extreme divisiveness to wholeness?

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