Voices of hatred, voices of war, voices of violence and racism, voices of falsehoods, voices that can distract us from who we are called to be….
And yet, if we listen really carefully, we can hear the voices that cry out in the wilderness…the wilderness of poverty, the wilderness of abandonment, the wilderness of sickness. These are the voices that challenge!
If we open our hearts, we can hear the voices in the deserts of humanity: the voices of young children crying from hunger, fleeing war, crying from fear. We can hear the voices of the elderly, crying from fear of dying alone or crying from constant pain.
We can either choose to listen to the voices of the misguided powerful and mighty, or we can choose to listen to the voice of “the one born in a manger”, the voice who calls us forth to live in God’s image and likeness, the voice which invites us to create a world where… “loving kindness and mercy meet, where justice and peace kiss”. (from Psalm 85).
Decades ago, when I was a young principal, a young father came to the door where Sr. Stephanie and I lived. His arms were laden with gifts and food for various ages… and his voice still rings strong and true:
“Sister Stephanie and Sister Debbie, I remember when I was young and my family was very poor and struggling and it was the you Sisters who gave my family joy and hope. I want to share that with others now”….a voice cries out for loving kindness!
I remember the voice of a 5 year old child a few years ago, who handed me a Christmas card with $1gift in it…her voice echoes still today: “we need to do something about the children, we need to change the lives of poor children”. And thus, the Mission’s Change for Christmas collection during this season of giving was born….a voice cries out for mercy!
I remember the voice of an elderly woman in a village called Los Guerreros in Nicaragua. She simply looked at me, with her hands folded on her lap and stated, “You have come and given us Hope. Now, I can die, knowing that our children in this village will live.”….a voice cries out for justice...a cry which was more like a whisper but one which I will never forget.
I remember the voice of a foster mother of an HIV child rescued from the dumps of Managua. When I assured these children and their foster families that the Mission of Hope would pray for them, help them and we’d be back, she stood up and said, “many promise to come back, many promise to help, but they don’t. Will you?”…a voice cries out for truth!
And so, as we move forward in the days ahead, let us be mindful that we are called to be the voices that cry out for kindness and truth, for mercy and justice. We are called to make sure our actions reflect who we say we are (whatever spirit walk we walk).
I invite you to be a voice, an example of compassion, of integrity, of generosity, of HOPE– whenever, wherever, with whomever!
My wish for you this Christmas is that we all live as people who listen to the “voices” that cry out…voices of the meek and humble who are far greater than any of us. And as we hug our loved ones, and we miss those no longer with us, and we share our blessings with family and friends, may we never forget, may we never forget to “live and be HOPE”. Indeed, the blessings of these days is a blessing of HOPE and NEW LIFE!