Reconciliation – John Robert Lewis
When I think of the word “reconciliation” which is the charism or the gift of the message of Our Lady of La Salette, I cannot help but think of a prophetic person that embodies that Gospel value. I am referring to John Lewis, the congressman from Atlanta, Georgia, who died of cancer so recently.
As a young man he was the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He kept up that non-violent approach as a solution to the systemic racism and violence which sadly has been a part of our Country’s history for hundreds of years. When so many insisted that only violence could overcome embedded violence, John Lewis instead chose to practice the radical teaching of Jesus, to: “Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you.” He put those words into bold action by being beaten several times for his Gospel beliefs and often going to jail simply for defending the dignity of the people around him.
There are so many people who call themselves Christians and yet are not faithful to this core teaching of Jesus. John Lewis was an authentic disciple of Jesus’ unconditional love, as were Martin Luther King and Father Thomas Merton. That is why John Lewis was called the “Conscience of Congress” – all of Congress, both the Republicans and the Democrats. But that took such courage and perseverance in following his ideals. I love the quote that was often attributed to him: “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
I want to quote Dianna Ortiz OSU, Director of Pax Christi USA, on her reflections on the life of John Lewis in her statement of gratitude: “I will forever remember him as someone who took the time to listen to the sufferings of the tortured. ……With few words, he calmly urged those of us who knew suffering firsthand to replace our fears with courage, our hopelessness with hope and our bottled -up rage with non-violent action. John Lewis stood for truth, compassion and love – – – everything that we yearn not just for ourselves, our families, our communities and our world, but for yesterday’s and today’s oppressors. John Lewis was Jesus in our midst.”
Sincerely, Fr. Joe Gosselin, M.S. Shrine Superior/Treasurer
La Salette Book Club
The La Salette Book Club met wearing masks and social distancing on June 4th for the first time since Covid-19 stay at home was issued! The Book club meets the first Thursday of the month from 10 to 11:30 at the shrine cafeteria. If you wish to join the group, see June Partridge or Sharon Markowitz or leave your name with Wayne in the book store.