BY: SR. PATRICIA TALONE, RSM, PhD
Catholic health care has a long and proud history of advocating for the needs of the poor, sick and vulnerable. Each year brings new challenges that we must, together, address on behalf of our ministry. Let's prayerfully listen to voices that speak about the mission of advocacy. The first is the author of Proverbs, who in this passage recalls the words of his wise mother:
Proverbs 31:8-9 (Revised New Standard Version)
Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Creator God, whose tender love extends to every person, give us the courage to raise our voices in unison to address the injustices in our world, we pray.
Shortly after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI reminded believers of the fact that those who have received God's gifts must use them for the good of all.
From Pope Paul VI's 1967 encyclical,
We want to be clearly understood on this point: The present state of affairs must be confronted boldly, and its concomitant injustices must be challenged and overcome. Continuing development calls for bold innovations that will work profound changes. The critical state of affairs must be corrected for the better without delay. Everyone must lend a ready hand to this task, particularly those who can do most by reason of their education, their office, or their authority ... In this way they will be responsive to men's longings and faithful to the Holy Spirit, because "the ferment of the Gospel, too, has aroused and continues to arouse in man's heart the irresistible requirements of his dignity."
O Giver of all gifts, grant us the wisdom to use our education and experience to their fullest capacities on behalf of those who are less fortunate than we, we pray.
Speaking to his daughter's 1951 high-school graduation class in Oxford, Miss., author William Faulkner urged youth to speak out against the injustices in our society.
He said, "Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world … would do this, it would change the Earth."
Spirit of the living God, You who draw us into communion with each person, guide our joint efforts to transform the Earth to bring justice to all people. We pray most especially for those who are poor, vulnerable and sick, that our society may foster the development of each individual as we strive to carry on the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
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