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Habits of Solidarity

"Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone. This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life. A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal."

Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home, par. 202

Our future depends on our capacity to live together well. This capacity grows through habits—habits of dialogue, empathy, collaboration—and through dispositions, especially a willingness to learn from one another and to take the holiness of our lives seriously, sincerely, and earnestly. What Pope Francis calls above “our mutual belonging” is not a concept. It is a reality that we can learn through habits of solidarity.

As Peter-Hans Kolvenbach once suggested, "Solidarity is learned through 'contact' rather than through 'concepts.' When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Personal involvement with innocent suffering, with the injustice others suffer, is the catalyst for solidarity which then gives rise to intellectual inquiry and moral reflection."

Change can be difficult, but connection to others provides both the impetus and the support we need for change. A simple first step is simply to allow ourselves to “be touched by direct experience” through encounters with others that invite us to think, to feel, to reflect, and to change.

What are you currently doing to contribute to a better world and how could you be more creative about it? What do you still have to learn and how and from whom will you learn it?


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