5.17.2010

Currently Reading: From Union Square to Rome

Gratitude brought me into the Church and that gratitude grows, and the first word my heart will utter, when I face my God is "Thanks." And that goes, with the help of God, for the gift of free will even though it entails sin, evil, suffering and death.

Author: Dorothy Day

Synopsis: The author, a former Communist, addresses her brother with the story of her conversion to the Catholic faith.

Notes: This is a horribly un-PC thing to say, but my first emotional response to the words "social justice" is usually frustration. Not that I don't care about justice for the poor and the oppressed, not that I'm unwilling to work for it, but I feel like the words have been too often commandeered by political ideologies with which they have little in common.

Dorothy Day, however, set such a stunning example of love and compassion for suffering people that she got those words past me. She came out of Communism holding on to its right ideals--concern for human need--and renouncing its wrong ones, like violent means and hatred of religion. As a Christian, she did not try to find a platitude answer for the question of suffering, but worked to ease the pain of others.

Her story gave me a lot to think about. I'm interested to hear what my fellow book club girls have to say when we discuss it next week.

3 comments:

  1. I'm right there with you on frustration with social justice. I understand what you mean about it.

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  2. Interesting. I may have to read this.

    In re social justice, I've not yet reached saturation point with that phrase. I don't know if any of my struggling with it would interest you. But the more I think of that phrase, and others (socialist, progressive, liberal, etc), I'm reminded of Chesterton's comment about long words, clattering around carrying people too weary or too indolent to think for themselves.

    Hm...I guess I could say I don't know what social justice 'means' per se, but I try to know it when I see it.

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  3. George, I thought you'd understand. Thanks. :)

    Mr. Pond, if you read the book, I'd love to hear what you think! As for the term "social justice", the frustration has less to do with saturation point--though your reference to Chesterton's comment made me smile, and I could see that applying too--than with its common use in political mudslinging.

    E.g.: "Your reservations about such and such piece of legislation clearly mean that you don't care about social justice." That sort of assumption, commonly made nowadays, is pretty consistently wrong. It also tends to put people out of charity with each other, which works contrary to any real justice and social well-being.

    I read your blog posts on the subject and am interested to hear more.

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