2021 and Onward
Last year, it took me until late in the day to discover that protests had broken out at the White House. “Mirari” had just come out and I was on the road, hand-delivering copies to folks in St. Paul and Minneapolis who’d been helpful to me.
It wasn’t long after I got home, late afternoon, but not yet dark, when I got an amber alert on my phone about a child abduction. Immediately afterward, phone still in my hand, my daughter Angela texted, “Are you seeing what’s going on?”
I reply, “The amber alert?”
No. That wasn’t why she called. The Capitol had been invaded.
These weren’t protesters focused on demands for change, these were thugs with no agenda other than to disrupt and disturb, to feel that power that walking up those steps and into the Capitol gave them. As I watched from that moment on, I saw adults acting like kids breaking into the principal’s office, sitting in desk chairs with their feet on desks, affrontery, spitting on power.
What felt almost worse, to me, was that when the House convened to do what they were there to do, person after person got up without changing the remarks they’d written before the event—as if it hadn’t even happened. I then saw what I was feeling in Rachel Maddow’s face, and heard it in her voice. It was so utterly fraudulent to do that. It was such a lack of leadership.
Later, the senate chaplain, Barry C. Black spoke these words:
“These tragedies have reminded us that words matter, and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.”
He also urged “unity in the face of the deep divisions,” and prayed, “Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world.”
Nancy Pelosi spoke “the word” too, that day, saying: “Today, January 6th, is the feast of the epiphany. On this day of revelation, let us pray that this instigation to violence will provide an epiphany for our country to heal. In that spirit of healing, I evoke the song of Saint Francis. I usually do. St. Francis is the patron Saint of my city of San Francisco, and song of St. Francis is our Anthem. “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace. Where there is darkness, may you bring light. Where there is hatred, let us bring love. Where there is despair, let us bring hope.”
Later, when Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would create an independent commission to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi criticized McConnell and others for blocking the bill after Democrats agreed to “everything that Republicans asked for.”
“In bowing to McConnell’s personal favor request, Republican Senators surrendered to the January 6th mob assault,” she said in a statement. “Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans’ denial of the truth of the January 6th insurrection brings shame to the Senate.”
I believe words matter too.
Mother Mary has told me that I am of the tradition of the Word, saying: This is not a failing. It is not less because it is not the vision of your eyes. “The Word” speaks of vision beyond the eyes. Do you not yet realize this? (“Mirari,” p. 271)
At the time, I told her that being of the way of Word, “was still a dawning realization,” but I’ve accepted it now. It never made me feel shy or awkward as some of the other nice things she said about me did. I already kind of new it.
This event helps us remember how important it is that we endeavor to know ourselves and to witness to others. There are things we each “kind of know” about ourselves. Sometimes it takes someone else “telling us how we are,” to bring us a realization. It’s all part of the call to be who we truly are . . . together.
Let yourself be seen. See those around you.
Let us all help each other to be who we are in truth.
Quotes are from The New York Time and NBC News.