Spirituality and Social Transformation


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Spirituality and Social Transformation

  1. 1. Spirituality and Social Transformation Janet K. Ruffing, RSM Cebu, 2009
  2. 2. Cry, Cry ,Cry for Life <ul><li>Cry, cry, cry for life </li></ul><ul><li>For the living, for the dead </li></ul><ul><li>For the desert, for the sea </li></ul><ul><li>Poisoned fish, birds with broken wings </li></ul><ul><li>Poets with no words </li></ul><ul><li>Singer without a song. </li></ul><ul><li>Cry, cry cry, for life </li></ul><ul><li>For the little children, fighting in the streets </li></ul><ul><li>Playing with toys, and guns and grenades </li></ul><ul><li>For mothers, weeping out of sorrow </li></ul><ul><li>Wondering about their children’s fate. </li></ul><ul><li>Cry, cry, cry for life </li></ul><ul><li>For the outcasts in their own land </li></ul><ul><li>From day to day, burying hundreds who die </li></ul><ul><li>For the refugees, exiled in diaspora </li></ul><ul><li>On the willow tree, hanging their harps and sigh. </li></ul><ul><li>Cry, cry for life </li></ul><ul><li>For the peasants who produce our food </li></ul><ul><li>But go to bed with empty stomachs </li></ul><ul><li>For workers who keep the wheel turning </li></ul><ul><li>But carry heavy burdens on their backs. </li></ul><ul><li>Cry, cry for life </li></ul><ul><li>For the courage, for the hope </li></ul><ul><li>For the forest for the stream </li></ul><ul><li>Bodies may die, spirit never dies </li></ul><ul><li>In our struggle, we burst in songs </li></ul><ul><li>As a new day dawns, we will shout in joy. </li></ul><ul><li>EATWOT Third Assembly , 1992 </li></ul>
  3. 3. Spirituality of Life <ul><li>Sense of being moved by a spiritual energy to hold onto life and live it to the full </li></ul><ul><li>Connectedness to God, to our human roots, to the rest of nature, to one another, to ourselves </li></ul><ul><li>An experience of the Holy Spirit moving us and our communities to be life-giving and life-affirming. </li></ul><ul><li>The Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. (Rom. 8.26) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Spirituality of Life <ul><li>A creative response to the cry for life, the cry for God </li></ul><ul><li>Expressed in songs, rituals and symbols that show the energizing Spirit animating the community in response to God </li></ul><ul><li>All existence is spiritual in indigenous spiritualities throughout the third world. </li></ul><ul><li>A life of reciprocal dependence on creation </li></ul><ul><li>Inspires an immediate and attainable vision of a just and peaceful world </li></ul>
  5. 5. Spirituality for Life <ul><li>A cry for life, a power to resist death and the agents of death </li></ul><ul><li>The strength to go on with God in the struggle </li></ul><ul><li>A quest for self-discovering, self-affirmation, and self-affirmation so that the whole human community can live fully as human beings. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Spirituality for Life <ul><li>Creates and Sustains Community </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s cry for life, inclusion, dignity, equality </li></ul><ul><li>The cry for balance, harmony, mutuality and reciprocity form the womb of life </li></ul><ul><li>The spirit groaning to give birth to a new humanity </li></ul>
  7. 7. Spirituality for Life <ul><li>Is a spirituality which mirrors that of Jesus offering a source of justice, righteousness, compassion and solidarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Jesus who shares our joys and sorrows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who undergoes sufferings with us </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who remains faithful to his mission to the cross </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who invites all his disciples to live the beatitudes which express his particular concern for the little and least (according to society) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who taught that he is to be experienced and served in the works of mercy (the last judgment; what you did for the least, you did for me) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Jesus, cont. <ul><ul><li>Who learned to include the “stranger” the “other” in his ministry and welcome the (Syrophoenician Woman) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who called women (from all social classes) equally into his circle of beloved apostles (Mary Magdalene– apostle to the apostles) and disciples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who promised his enlivening Spirit to all in the community as a result of his Resurrection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whose Resurrection from the dead affirmed his life, ministry, teaching, and vindicated his execution at the hands of the state. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whose Resurrection offers the hope and conviction that death does not ever have the last word </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Filipino Context <ul><li>Extreme poverty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>85% of the entire has migrated for economic reasons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequent erosion of Filipino values, especially materialism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges to family life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vulnerability to exploitation and abuse of those who migrate, especially women </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The long-lasting effects of colonization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spaniards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns of religion that maintained oppression </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns of social organization that pitted the elite against the masses </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Cont. <ul><li>Americans </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Military </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exploitation of Women and girls in the sex trade </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread corruption in government and business </li></ul><ul><li>Militarization and on-going civil war in the south against Muslim insurgents </li></ul>
  11. 11. Cont. <ul><li>The negative effects of globalization </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread corruption in government and public life </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological Degradation </li></ul><ul><li>Popular movements of reform people power I and II </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning and practicing strategies of non-violence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hope for political and social reform (still unrealized) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Church’s commitment to become a Church of the Poor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment to lay participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Church sponsored base ecclesial communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New appreciation for indigenous peoples </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s desires for an end to gender discrimination in both church and society </li></ul>
  12. 12. Spirituality that Does Justice <ul><li>Church Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>“Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as constitutive dimensions of the preaching of the gospel, or, in other words, of the church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation” </li></ul><ul><li>1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World </li></ul>
  13. 13. Faith-filled Citizenship <ul><li>Responsibility of citizenship is not to the state but to the civic order and to fellow/ sister citizens (the common good) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will defend a fellow/sister citizen against injustice at the hands of the state </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reads “the signs of the times” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizes greed, manipulation, bullying, cheating, violence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Witnesses to truth rather than just collaborate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can criticize one’s own society as well as support it. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Citizen Mystic <ul><li>A fact (I am a citizen by birth) </li></ul><ul><li>A moral imperative (I ought to behave like a good citizen) </li></ul><ul><li>Good Citizenship requires: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Altruism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-Transcendence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rejection of ego-ism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Overcoming prejudices </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Overcoming Prejudices <ul><li>Transcend origins: Our very sense of self, at first, unconsciously embodies the prejudices of our own culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Shift the self from center to margin </li></ul><ul><li>Spirituality of solidarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With fellow citizens (especially not our own class) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With all of humankind </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mature believers recognize: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment to ethical citizenship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment to practice of the Gospel as well as piety </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Prayer <ul><li>Required to support a faith that does justice </li></ul><ul><li>Returns to the Gospel over and over again, reflecting on it “contextually” </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivates a personal relationship with Jesus that sustains the suffering entailed in work for justice </li></ul><ul><li>Sustains a grounding in the experience of God’s presence (however, we pray) that keeps us connected to God’s Spirit acting in us </li></ul><ul><li>Involves communal reflection on the situation and prayer for mutual support </li></ul>
  17. 17. Social Structure of Grace <ul><li>Individuals bring a self shaped by relationships and social forces to interpersonal encounters </li></ul><ul><li>We experience God precisely in groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This experience illuminates signs of the kingdom of God already present and at work in our communities and world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It also manifests the darkness and sin of our social order and calls us to social transformation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We experience God in a privileged way in the poor </li></ul>
  18. 18. How to Do This in a specific Context?
  19. 19. Social Sin and Social Grace <ul><li>Experience of God always occurs within history and within a network of social relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, it will also have social effects that are humanizing and liberating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structures that promote human dignity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Characterized by justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote individual acts of goodness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empower spiritual life within and works of mercy for the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marked by the evident gifts of the Spirit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Denis Edwards </li></ul>
  20. 20. Theological Perspective <ul><li>What is Social Sin? </li></ul><ul><li>What is Social Grace? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Social Sin <ul><li>also takes place within a social history and social relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Its effects are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>oppression, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dehumanization, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>violence, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and often under conditions of massive poverty, premature death </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Social Sin <ul><li>Refers to: </li></ul><ul><li>Structures that oppress human beings, violate human dignity, stifle freedom, impose gross inequality </li></ul><ul><li>Situations that promote and facilitate individual acts of selfishness </li></ul><ul><li>The complicity or silent acquiescence of persons who do not take responsibility for the evil being done. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Experience of God in the Poor <ul><li>An experiential insight has emerged with this option for the poor in liberation theologies. </li></ul><ul><li>When the privileged (wealthy, education, powerful, etc.) relate to and begin to take the side of the impoverished masses, they often encounter a surprising grace. </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Poor <ul><li>Tend to receive them in such a way that they recognize their common humanity and God/ Christ is experienced in this exchange, solidarity with, and accompaniment of the poor. </li></ul>
  25. 25. A New Way of Loving Emerges
  26. 26. Experience of God in the Poor: Darkness and Light <ul><li>DARKNESS </li></ul><ul><li>Experience of a guilty conscience </li></ul><ul><li>Our helplessness before the power of oppression </li></ul><ul><li>Loneliness and failure </li></ul><ul><li>LIGHT </li></ul><ul><li>Gifts that come with the poor </li></ul><ul><li>Experience of solidarity and otherness in struggle for justice </li></ul><ul><li>Experience of taking action that makes a difference </li></ul><ul><li>Both the experiences of darkness and of light can be Ignatian Consolation leading to greater faith, hope, and love. </li></ul>
  27. 27. What Happens to the Poor in Response To this New Experience of Solidarity and Accompaniment?
  28. 28. <ul><li>Hope </li></ul><ul><li>A witness to their suffering, accompaniment </li></ul><ul><li>An opportunity to reflect and tell their story </li></ul><ul><li>May experience beginnings of empowerment to change their own situation </li></ul><ul><li>May notice how their situation is connected to other suffering persons </li></ul><ul><li>???????? What is your experience???? </li></ul>