Vision is the first step toward change

Lent calls us to follow Jesus into the wilderness for our own 40 days of reflection and discernment. Today we take with us on that journey these words of Sr. Joan Chittister from one of her latest books: The Time is Now — words that call each of us to find our part to play in the work of making a world of equals not just a prayer we pray but a reality we live.

First and foremost, a real follower of Jesus the Prophet is faithful, forever endures. No new idea, however right, however much the essence of goodness, overgrows old ideas easily or quickly. It took over two hundred years to abolish slavery; more years to abrogate segregation; and now, it seems, even more years to extinguish the racism that is at our historical roots. Nevertheless, the prophetic promise of a world of equals never died out. The hopes of the human heart were impossible to extinguish. Generation after generation of prophetic people rose up century after century to speak a word of justice. The fact is that in our own time, we must do the same.

Second, the prophet does more than denounce evil. Instead, prophetic spirituality envisions a world in which justice and equality, peace and community are the norm rather than the struggle. It is the prophet of our time who leads the way to the development of an alternative vision of life by imagining a new normal. Today’s prophets prepare for the reconstruction of society by imagining the achievable and drawing others to see it as well. Vision is the first step toward change. Or as the poet e. e. cummings put it, “The first act of creation is destruction.” The old order—decaying and disturbing—must go in order to make room for the new.

Finally, they do not despair. They know that God’s time is not our time. They understand that change comes in seasons. Saint Paul is a realist. Some of us plant, he says. Then, the next generation waters. All of us hope that the harvest is soon. But in the course of its long, slow coming we do not fail in our faith that the Spirit of God is with us and God’s time is near.

—from The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage

[photo credit: Lida Kizzia]

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