In her book Dangerous Memories, Elizabeth Johnson, Roman Catholic feminist theologian and distinguished professor emerita of Theology at Fordham University, states “one core practice that connects living persons with those who have died is the act of remembering.” Remembering “recalls the courage, suffering, wisdom, beauty, defeats, and victories of people who have struggled before us to unlock what Augustine calls their ‘lessons of encouragement.’”

As we mourn the passing of Rep. John Lewis, who committed his life to racial justice and equality, we are invited to pause, ponder, and pray. In order to do so, I offer some quotes from Rep. John Lewis as a way to encourage us to consider what our contribution might be to the lofty call to promote human dignity and defend the rights of all.

“Faith is being so sure of what the spirit has whispered in your heart that your belief in its eventuality is unshakable.” (Across That Bridge)

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair.  Be hopeful, be optimist.   Our struggle is not a struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year; it is the struggle of a lifetime.  Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” –June 2018 tweet

“You are a light.  You are the light.  Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light.  Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. {…]  Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge.  Release all bitterness.  Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.  Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is you time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak, up and speak out against injustice.  And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you  shine like beacon for all to, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.” (Across That Bridge)

“For some, this vote may be hard.  But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.” –December 2019 remarks in the House

“My dear friends:  Your vote is precious, almost sacred.  It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.” –2012 speech in Charlotte, North Carolina

“Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society.  Why?  Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.” (Across That Bridge)

Let us pause, ponder, and pray…

God of Heaven and Earth,
you created the one human family
and endowed each person with great dignity.

Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.
Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight
from our hearts, our communities,
our social and civil institutions.

Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor
so that we may work with you
in healing our land from racial injustice.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

USCCB Prayer for Racial Justice

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