Our hope as Sacred Heart Educators is to form young people who contemplate the wounded world through the eyes of Jesus so that the transformation they effect is one that builds the Body of Christ. Watching young people across the country, particularly the survivors of the Parkland shooting reminds us all that youth are our hope, our promise and our responsibility.
Our hope as Sacred Heart Educators is to form young people who contemplate the wounded world through the eyes of Jesus so that the transformation they effect is one that builds the Body of Christ. Watching young people across the country, particularly the survivors of the Parkland shooting reminds us all that youth are our hope, our promise and our responsibility. These voices are calling us to attend to our common humanity. They are reminding us of each person's dignity. They are young people urging adults to care for children. They are affecting the transformation of attitudes as they call us to act. Writing a blog is challenging. It is an exercise in humility because you find yourself struggling with the very questions about which you decide to write. Looking into the eyes of those young people this week, I saw both the hope we will act and a genuine wondering whether we will. This past week my heart ached with theirs just as I am sure everyone’s did.
Now what are we considering doing? I mean, what am I considering doing beyond debate? We find ourselves in Lent. We have just learned that Billy Graham has died. He once said, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'”
The connection for me between watching these articulate young people and listening to commentators quote Billy Graham is my sense that Lent is the season of the heart. Specifically, it is the time to acknowledge our woundedness. This is not something that is easy or even encouraged. It is in our woundedness that we discover our need for healing and for love. Lent is the time to create enough silence, enough stillness that within our hearts we can hear essential questions. Do we need to ask forgiveness of another person with whom we now have a fractured relationship? Do we need to forgive someone who has broken our hearts? Do we need to acknowledge our need of support from another or offer support to someone in need? Our wounded hearts can provide the setting for grace to work within us, but we must remain open to the discomfort before we can respond.
Sensing my own woundedness also helps me develop compassion and empathy. There is much suffering in our world. Pope Francis has invited all humankind to pray and fast for peace on February 23, 2018. He sees this Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace as a call to acknowledge and pray for “the tragic prolonging of conflicts in various parts of the world,” particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. He urges that each person “according to his or her own conscience before God, can ask: ‘What can I do for peace?’” That is the same question being poised to us by the youth of the United States – What can I do for peace? What will I do for peace?
All of the questions I am raising in this blog necessitate that each of us takes the time in silence to sort through them. As an adult, I feel called by the young voices I hear daily to seek peace both within my heart and within my relationships. This seems like a good starting point for Lent. I look forward toFriday to join people across the globe in praying for peace.
Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ is Head of the Conference of Sacred Heart Education
Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.