Election Reflection

Reflection November 3, 2020
Sister’s Witness for Peace 

By Sister Jan Ginzkey, OSB 

Today we have joined with thousands of sisters from multiple congregations and communities across the United States and from Canada, France, Brazil, Haiti, Guatemala, and other countries served by International communities all praying for peace during and after our election of President, Senators, Congress persons, and other political offices. Globally, America has represented a land of hope, prosperity, freedom, and peace. The past four years have seen a drastic change in how America is viewed by our allies and other countries throughout our world. We fervently pray that God will listen to our prayers for peace during and after our election. 

I will draw heavily from Pope Francis’ encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”. I will focus on the section dealing specifically with politics which are so pertinent to us today. Pope Francis admits that “for many people today, politics is a distasteful word.” (176). He considers politics as a noble profession, but only if leaders practice it “out of tender care for others” (194) Politicians have the opportunity and the power to create the conditions that allow people to flourish or to be marginalized. Francis says, “what we need is a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good,” (154) 

Pope Francis emphasizes three aspects needed to create a transformation of politics:
Dialogue 
Encounter
Solidarity. 

With true dialogue political leaders recognize that others may have something valuable to contribute, and that conflicting points of view and persons who believe differently need to be respected. 

To encounter another is not to push them away or claim they don’t belong because they make one uncomfortable. There may be disagreement or conflict. However, Pope Francis says, “political leaders practicing encounter would foster reconciliation that happens through open, honest and patient negotiation.” (244) 

When exhibiting solidarity, leaders practice “thinking and acting in terms of community.” It doesn’t matter where a person was born, where they live, or what their circumstances are. These characteristics do not make a person more or less worthy of the rights and privileges of being human. Pope Francis concludes this section by saying, “the dignity of others is to be respected in all circumstances, not because that dignity is something we have invented or imagined, but because human beings possess an intrinsic worth” that comes from God. (213) 

We can be the catalyst for changing the political chaos. It is up to each individual and religious community to be prophets and witness to the potential of dialogue, encounter, and solidarity. We practice leadership for the common good in our daily lives. 

Respecting one another, even if we have disagreements or conflicts is possible as we practice SBl-1. We have exercised our responsibility as citizens by voting. We will demonstrate our faith in democracy by honoring the candidates who are elected. We will continue to encounter our sisters and brothers who are on the margins. We will show our solidarity as religious women by witnessing to the dignity and value of persons of all races, sexual orientation, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the unborn. We will strive so that all may have life and develop into the wonderful creation God intended. We will also show our solidarity by caring for our earth, our common home and the resources for all life.

Jer. 11:4-5 & Jer. 29:11- 12 

Listen to my voice and do all that I command you. Then you shall be my people and I will be your God. Thus, I will fulfill the oath which I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey: the one you have today. 

I know well the plans I have in mind for your, says the Lord. Plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.

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