Love is the only reality... Sri Aurobindo
"Active organizing for democracy is needed now more than ever. For this to succeed, both working and poor people -- who are the majority -- have to have to have a voice. DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) is one of those voices."
You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slums... It is folly -- it is madness -- to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children."
--Bishop Frank Weston at the 1923 Anglo-Catholic Conference
"Nature produced common property. Robbery made private property."
We are living in a time in which the "principalities and powers" (of which St. Paul wrote) are utilizing frenzied voices like those of Limbaugh, Rove, Beck, Hannity, and Palin, to divert attention from their ugly quest for ultimate control of the commons, of seeds, of capital and labor, of information distribution, of culture and education, and of polititians and of access to political power. Enormous amounts of money are poured into strategic efforts to control the mass mind and eliminate evidence of intelligent life on Planet Earth.
But the times also give evidence to the possibility of a resurgence of sacred activism -- an activism rooted in the deep realization that love is, fundamentally, the only reality and that our challenge as humans is to align our lives and institutions accordingly. Any honest reading of the world's holy books will reveal a politics and an economics of justice, equality, and liberation for all-- not just a very privileged few. This is the task of the 21st century: to manifest both personal and social liberation, with bread and roses for all. To live "a working class hero" and transform the world into the paradise of its possibilities -- is something to be...
"We need houses of hospitality to give to the rich an opportunity to serve the poor."
"Property is theft."
At least 1.2 billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day. Half the world's people live on less than two dollars a day.
The poverty lived by Yeshua is a sign of the Holy One's promise of liberation for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and the abandoned in love and justice. When asked, "Are you he who is to come?" Yeshua answers, "Go and tell what you have seen: the blind see, the lame walk, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them"... a kind of universal health care with the surprise of Love!
In the midst of the Great Depression, Peter Maurin, an itinerant street philosopher, and Dorothy Day began what became known as the "Catholic Worker Movement". Still alive and well, the Catholic Worker yet works on the streets of America and around the world announcing the possibilities of a New Earth, radiant with justice, equality, and peace for all... there is a Way!
So, the November elections have come and gone, and we are still here... but with Republicans claiming as intention and priority number one: bringing down President Obama. The question for mystics and activists alike boils down to what Thomas Merton wondered way back in the 1960's: Where do you go from the top of a thirty foot pole? There's no going back, and nothing to grab onto ahead...
From that precarious perch, though, we can actually look around with a certain detachment. We are all of us in the very same predicament. But the advantage belongs to the mystic / activist: we have made the conscious decision to live a life of service and solidarity, of contemplation and wonder, and to transformation and revolution. Someone else will inevitably claim to own all of the poles, while most others will resentfully accept their fate and just hang on hoping against hope for the sake of their children.
But neither the predatory capitalist, nor their long-suffering victims, have it right. We are all meant for the struggle of bending the unbendable "pole" of human history and arcing it towards justice, equality, solidarity, liberation, and the common good. We are meant for raising our fists to the howling wind and proclaiming for everyone or no one to hear: This moment may try my soul but I will not yield nor will I surrender. I will leap into the maelstrom of human history and not rest until there is equality and justice, bread and roses, for all.
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.