Growing in humility and listening more deeply

Fr. Ted Penton, SJ, Secretary Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology

Two words keep coming to me in prayer: humility and listening. While making progress on particular issues is important, it’s also vital that we all grow in humility and begin to listen more deeply, especially to those who disagree with us. Only in this way can we come together to build a community founded on God’s love, a love greater than the forces that push us apart.  

In his new encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis writes, “A community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbors, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good.” He continues, “We were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love.” 

Again and again, I return to this notion that our fulfilment can only be found in love. What could be a more important theme in this time of division than our universal humanity? Pope Francis acknowledges the dark clouds that hang over us, but instead of attacking or demonizing others he presents a beautiful vision for working together to build a worldwide community that respects the dignity of all.  This is the vision I will keep before me during this election week and in the weeks that follow. We may not know the results immediately, and once we do, some of us will be happy, others unhappy, and many will have mixed feelings. But we can all remain committed to Pope Francis’s vision. God’s love transcends our political cycles and demands of us a lifelong commitment to building justice — brick by brick, election by election. 

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