June 25, 2014

Future of the Global Action Ministry...A Call to Continue Catherine McAuley’s Vision...

‘To be compassionate, to bring the mercy of God to a world in need, we must first recognise and experience our need for God’s Mercy’. Mary Reynolds rsm, Executive Director MIA

As I reflected on what Mary had written, it seems to me we could consider it as an appropriate ‘call’ to look at mercy anew, within the context of the MIA Global Action programme. This thought was further strengthened on Pentecost Sunday, when we witnessed four world leaders gather ‘as children of Abraham’ in the Vatican Gardens, to pray for peace.

Pope Francis and His Holiness Brother Bartholomaios, Archbishop of Constantinople, President Peres of Israel and President Abbas of Palestine to Rome, demonstrated their courageous and compassionate leadership by meeting together, despite strong negative warnings back home. Their hope was that this prayer-moment would ‘mark the beginning of a new journey’ toward a peaceful end to the conflict and violence that is tearing the Middle East apart.

In introducing the prayer service the commentator spoke of ‘movements’ marking the four phases of prayer led by a different leader. Movement is such a rich, dynamic word. It suggests change, differing tempos, colour, variety and beauty, all entwined in seamless fluidity.

In respect of the Global Action programme, if we combine the call to a new way of living mercy with movement, it will take on a different emphasis and perspective. The first call could be named as the ‘opening movement’ which springs from our personal ‘need for God’s mercy’. As Pope Francis frequently says, an appreciation of this gift is directly related to the awareness of our own sinfulness. It is thus an ongoing, dynamic movement, which simultaneously prompts us to reach out to others in love and mercy, irrespective of their situation or need. We cannot underestimate the significance and importance of this low-key, personal and often unnoticed work for justice. This is primarily due to the fact it is person centred and non-judgemental, thereby it helps to restore personal dignity; whilst also offering hope, to those struggling to regain their footing in society.

Emanating out of the personal movement is the call to engage in the ‘working together movement’. This unfolds day to day in our local area, where in collaboration with others, we provide care and services for larger numbers. In response to needs as they arise, each of us is called to use our gifts and skills, be it in education, health, social work; or to respond to the victims of human trafficking and exploitation of any form. The latter group also includes a sensitive, relevant call to counter the plundering of earth’s precious resources. In sum, this movement encompasses Mercy ministries throughout the world.

Flowing out of this is the call to address the root causes, which give rise to deprivation and exploitation, best described as a ‘movement to address systemic injustice’. The most effective way to address root causes is through networking and collaboration at local, national, regional and international level. It is a clarion call to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable and marginalised. The work of Mercy Global Concerns at the United Nations, calls us to engage with governments and challenging where appropriate, to ensure that all ‘may live life to the full’ Jn: 10.10.

To this end the GA Team will continue to support international and national initiatives, through lobbying and advocacy. Primarily we will do this in respect of the two Global Action focus areas i.e. opposing human trafficking; cosmology and the environment. The latter includes caring for Mother Earth. We commit to doing this conscious of maintaining the fine balance between the rights of nature and the needs – not greed - of the human family.

The post 2015 development agenda as stated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will be a particular area of focus. See Part 11 of the future Global Action Programme in next week’s E-news.

The call to the final movement within the Global Action programme could best be described as the ‘prophetic movement’. This is underpinned by the call of Vatican 11 to read the ‘signs of the times’, even when this is being actively discouraged e.g. the compassionate and loving response to the first people living with AIDS, or to countering the negative impact of some mining process in respect of the local communities and our planet! The ‘prophetic movement’ is summed up beautifully by Pope Francis:
'Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this world'. Pope Francis...

He underpins this by his obvious pain around the insidious concept of the ‘globalisation of indifference’ which includes destruction of the environment, exploitation of others and treating people like objects for sale. When visiting the island of Lampedusa, where so many desperately seeking a new life have perished – Pope Francis challenged all of us in a passionate, visceral manner about the de-valuing of life.

In respect of the content of the Global Action programme, I believe this will unfold as and how members of the various Working Groups respond to needs and issues of justice within their countries...
Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

Image: Olive Tree, Madrid. Daderot. Public domain

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