There are within each of us strong beliefs and feelings attached to those beliefs. These affect our view of the world and influence our preferences as well as our actions. There is always the danger, however, of expending more energy on being “against” something (for example, institutional sexism) as opposed to using our power to be for something—for example, working for genuine respect for both genders equally in our own sphere of influence. Every value we hold dear is an expression of either support or opposition, and it is our perspective that determines whether we are for something or against it.
If we are even the most casual observers of our world and even our city, we are confronted with rising levels of violence that involves firearms. We can speak out and complain, live in fear, relocate to another city, or we can direct our energies and intentions into activities that promote peace and non-violence. On a superficial level, one might say that these are just two faces of the same coin, yet choosing to be FOR something is a vastly more potent means of inspiring change because it carries with it the power of constructive intentionality.
When you support a cause or project, whether your support is active or passive, you contribute to the creative energy that fuels all affirmative change. Optimistic thoughts and God-centered beliefs energize other people, giving them hope and inspiring them to work conscientiously and with passion for what they believe in. It is precisely this dynamic that has fueled the ministry of Holy Redeemer, and as we move into the future, we need to remind ourselves that we exist not to be critical of church structures and modes of being Catholic that don’t resonate with us. Instead, we exist to live in that future realm of the Reign of God right here and now. We are FOR a church where women and men are equal, where daughters are as valuable as sons, where all people are loved for who God made them to be. In a metaphysical sense, being for something creates a positive shift in the universe itself because, I believe, God shares this overwhelming commitment to be for us. This means that when we are consciously in harmony with God’s attitude, we can transform the world on a major scale.
To be against something is easy. Words are cheap, and all we need do is speak out in opposition. Standing up for something is often more challenging, because we may be introducing something that genuinely threatens some people as we encourage them to think outside the box.
As a history teacher, I often speak to the contributions of individuals from the past who shaped, almost single-handedly, the world we live in. Nonetheless, most of us labor under the illusion that one person will seldom have a measurable impact on the world. The Gospel teaches us that when we stand up for God’s priorities instead of constantly decrying injustice and the things that are wrong, we can create a tidal wave of change. Our prayers and positive energy will undergird our attempts to actively promote God’s Reign, one heart at a time.