Wednesday, July 17, 2013

All Is Grace

I'm taking a mini-vacation with Bonnie at the Franklin house in Vernon, BC.  I'm up here to celebrate a Liturgy for a few families who live in the area, but staying with the Franklins is always like being on vacation.  

Last time I was here, I started one of Kim's books, "All is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day," by Jim Forest.  This visit, I hope to finish it.  

Dorothy Day was the founder of the Catholic Worker magazine and the Christian social activism that is associated with that magazine.  Nowadays, many consider Dorothy a saint, but for most of her life she was generally considered a trouble maker or basically ignored by both church and government.  Her work for the poor flew largely under everyone's radar.  Her voice calling for pacifism (even during the Second World War and the Cold War that followed) was too small to be anything but slightly annoying to the powerful, and her devout Roman Catholic faith combined with her intense practical and political concern for the disenfranchised was a nonsequitor in an America that equated (and largely still equates) religious devotion with political conservatism.  

What has impressed me most about her life was how mundane her saintliness was.  She continually loved difficult people.  Loving difficult people can only be done by human choice and divine Grace.  Love, for Dorothy, was a command of Jesus, something to be obeyed.  She loved until she couldn't take it any more, and then would retreat for a few days, only to return and love some more.  And those difficult ones she loved were not necessarily the street people and disenfranchised.  The difficult ones to love were often her volunteers, coworkers and all those many who had a better idea, a different perspective, or a better insight.

I told someone today that I do not have two percent of the love and commitment to Christ and neighbor as was manifest in Dorothy Day's life.  May Holy Dorothy pray for us sinners.

No comments: