This next ReCollection, like the two before it, comes from the very first issue of The BeZine. Terri Stewart, who was the “resident Canoness” of The Bardo Group Beguines, and thus for The BeZine over many years as well. She busy working with youth when the first issue came out, but still sent this reminder of social justice, the third of our rotating quarterly themes.
I am away working with youth affected by incarceration this weekend [October 2014]. I recently read the below meditation and found it to be moving. I hope you will also find inspiration. —Terri
Illustration—photograph of opaque watercolor over graphite on gray-green woven paper circa 1886 by James Tissot (1836-1902) and released into the public domain.
The Invisible Spiral of Violence
If you cannot recognize evil on the level of what I call the world, then the flesh and the devil are inevitable consequences. They will soon be out of control, and everything is just trying to put out brush fires on already parched fields. The world or “the system” is the most hidden, the most disguised, and the most denied—but foundational—level of evil. It’s the way cultures, groups, institutions, and nations organize themselves to survive.From Richard Rohr’s
It is not “wrong” to survive, but for some reason group egocentricity is never seen as evil when you have only concentrated on individual egocentricity (“the flesh”). That is how our attention has been diverted from the whole spiral of violence. The “devil” then stands for all of the ways we legitimate, enforce, and justify our group egocentricity (most wars; idolization of wealth, power, and show; tyrannical governments; many penal systems; etc.), while not now calling it egocentricity, but necessity!
Once any social system exists, it has to maintain and assert itself at all cost. Things we do inside of that system are no longer seen as evil because “everyone is doing it.” That’s why North Koreans can march lockstep to a communist tyranny, and why American consumers can “shop till they drop” and make no moral connections whatsoever. You see now why most evil is hidden and denied, and why Jesus said, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). We don’t.
Daily Meditation Center
for Action and Contemplation
RICHARD ROHR, OFM is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mystical and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation.
The foundational elements of The Perennial Tradition are:
- There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things.
- There is in the human soul a natural capacity, similarity, and longing for this Divine Reality.
- The final goal of existence is union with this Divine Reality.
Shalom and Amen
Feature ©2014 Terri Stewart, quoted excerpt and art excepted
All rights reserved
…described herself in her The BeZine biography as “a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics, too.”