Solidarity with the “dear neighbor”

A post by Betsy Wiest, SSJ Social Justice Coordinator.

“Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are really responsible for all.”            Pope Francis

We live in a world where respect for life and people is not a privilege afforded to everyone. Climate change, discrimination, and violence are just some of the things that we, especially the poor and marginalized, experience. We can’t live and exist independently of others; we are interdependent beings. We need to treat each other as sisters and brothers and care for our “dear neighbor” without distinction. Only working as one can we build communities that empower everyone to attain full potential. 

Catholic Social Teaching on the principle of solidarity encourages us to build relationships so we can understand what life is like for others who are different from us.

Our gospel calls us to promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.  So, how can we do this?  Try these:

  • Smile at everyone you meet—especially those you don’t know.
  • Attend a vigil or prayer service that promotes peace.
  • Learn about other cultures and join a group that celebrates diversity.
  • Most important, each day, pray the following prayer for solidarity and the healing of our broken world.

Spirit of God, you are the source and fount of all creation.
As you are one, make us one.
Unify us in an awareness, which sees the plight of your children around the world.
Unify us in a hope which speaks of a better future.
Unify us in a justice which works for the world you dream.
Unify us in a love which prioritizes relationships of care. 
Unify us in a joy which witnesses to your eternal goodness.
Unify us as one human family with a shared home and common destiny in You.
Unify us now to act on behalf of the marginalized, voiceless and unseen.
As you are one, make us one.

(Photo is from Silent Peace Walk for Solidarity at the Community Living Center on 1-13-2020.)

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