"Writing...is hard because you are giving yourself away, but if you love; you want to give yourself. You write as you are impelled to write, about man and his problems, his relation to God and his fellows…The sustained effort of writing, of putting [words down while] there are human beings [with] sickness, hunger, sorrow…I feel that I have done nothing well, but I did something."-Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day lived a diverse 83 years that culminated in 1980. She spent her youth amongst anarchists and bohemians, in bars and through unhappy love affairs. She ended life with a mile high FBI file and a paper trail that testifies that what she wrote, she believed, she did and lived.
As an unwed mother she shocked her progressive friends when she entered the Roman Catholic Church, and from the inside, she began to critique it. She called herself a journalist, but she was also like St. Francis of Assisi, a lone prophetic voice of wisdom that challenged the corruption of the gospel/good news that Jesus said was non-negotiable for his follower's; you must forgive to be forgiven and you must love-even those who do not love back.
In a 1994 issue of The Progressive, Erwin Knoll reported "the day after the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor [was] a day when even the most committed pacifist might have been forgiven for maintaining a discreet silence…There was nothing discreet about Dorothy Day."
On the Sunday after Pearl Harbor, Day spoke out, "There is now all this patriotic indignation about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Japanese expansionism in Asia. Yet not a word about American and European colonialism in this same area. We, the British, the French, and others set up spheres of influence…control national states-against the expressed will of these states-and represent imperialism…We dictate to [all] …to where they can expand economically and politically, and we declare what policy they must observe. From our nationalistic and imperialistic point of view, we have every right to concentrate American military forces [Everywhere we chose]…But I waste rhetoric on international politics-the breeding grounds of war over the centuries. The balance of power and other empty slogans inspired by a false and flamboyant nationalism have bred conflict throughout 'civilized' history.
"And it has become too late in human history to tolerate wars which none can win. Nor dare we quibble about just wars…All wars are, by their very nature, evil and destructive. It has become too late for civilized people to accept this evil. We must take a stand. We must renounce war as an instrument of policy…Evil enough when the finest of our youth perish in conflict and even the causes of these conflicts were soon lost to memory. Even more horrible today when cities go up in flames and brilliant scientific minds are searching out ultimate weapons.
Day's prophetic voice is also a friend of wisdom and "Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, and certain. Not baneful, but loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kind, firm, secure, all-seeing and pervading all spirits. Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion and SHE penetrates and pervades all things by reason. SHE is the aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of The Almighty. SHE is the refulgence of eternal Light, a spotless mirror of the power of God. And SHE who is one, can do all things and renews everything. And passing into holy souls from age to age, SHE produces friends of God and prophets." - WISDOM 7:22-8:1
Day took Jesus seriously and understood that for a Christian the higher law is God's not man's and for a Christian, God is love and "love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of cities. Love is not killing...Our Manifesto is the Sermon on The Mount, which means we will try to be peacemakers."
Day challenged church, state and corporate media via her publication The Catholic Worker, which gave voice to the voiceless and persists today. Everyday when I sit in front of my keyboard to write; to give myself away impelled by love in response to a sense of mission or is it duty? This need to write about man and his problems, his relation to God and his sisters and brothers, provokes me to daily wonder:
Might she have said:
For every misunderstanding, every condemning thought, every negative vibration, every tear torn from a heart, every time one grabbed and wouldn’t let go, and they only did it because they did not know: