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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

267 Dec. 7th, 2020: The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope.

Day 267 December 7th, 2020: "The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope."

When I think of hope I think of the Berrigan Brothers and their friends Franciscan Louis Vitale, Father John Dear and Roy Bourgeois and so many incredible Sisters who drew strength and hope from being in their community of peace.

Dan Berrigan and his brother Philip were on fire with the good news which they nourished in everyone they met. They began lives of sacrifice and protest as young priests who witnessed in Selma. Their dedication to Civil Rights would lead them to protest the Viet Nam War and the insanity of nuclear weapons. Dan was a gifted writer and poet and although he was hated by J.Edgar Hoover for his anti-war activities, Pedro Arrupe, S.J., superior general of the Jesuits at the time, called Dan Berrigan "the greatest Jesuit of the century."

His nephew Jerry Berrigan said of Dan “It’s almost like my uncle lived right in the heart of God and reported back to us.” Martin Sheen said he made protest human and down to earth. Dan Berrigan valued the divinity of human life above his own comfort. He placed people at the center of his universe.

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

“This past year has left many of us wrung out, beaten down, exhausted — and yet Mark cries out to us on the first Sunday of Advent: “Be alert! Watch!” Our eyes may be heavy, our hearts weary, our spirits frayed, and yet Mark implores us not to be caught sleeping… A tall task indeed as the days grow shorter, the darkness comes earlier, and winter sets in…”

Here's a reflection Dan Berrigan wrote called Advent

“It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss—

This is true:

For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction—

This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever—

This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace.

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world—

This is true:

To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world.

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers—

This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams.

It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history—

This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth.

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.”

– Daniel Berrigan, Testimony: The Word Made Flesh (Orbis Books, 2004).

Quotes I love:

Start with the impossible. Proceed calmly towards the improbable. No worry, there are at least five exits.”

“If you are going to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

We’re trying to discover what it means to be a human being in an inhuman time.”

- Daniel Berrigan

(Rachel Moore writes a tribute to her cousin Wilton Mitchell, who died of COVID-19)


A Center

You must hold your quiet center,

where you do what only you can do.

If others call you a maniac or a fool,

just let them wag their tongues.

If some praise your perseverance,

don't feel too happy about it—

only solitude is a lasting friend.

You must hold your distant center.

Don't move even if earth and heaven quake.

If others think you are insignificant,

that's because you haven't held on long enough.

As long as you stay put year after year,

eventually you will find a world

beginning to revolve around you.



Bridge Over Troubled Water - John Legend

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

De La Soul - Tread Water

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