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Life Arts    H3'ed 8/25/15

Sing to Me, I Will Hear Your: A Labor of Love Born of the Soul of Elaine McGillicuddy

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Elaine McGillicuddy and Francis
Elaine McGillicuddy and Francis
(Image by Elaine McGillicuddy)
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class= >Where do earthly concerns like climate change, environmental destruction, inhumane treatment, war and peace, human sexuality, economic justice, and feeding and housing the destitute intersect with faithfulness to our understanding of the Holy Spirit? It seems to me the answer to this question is, "Everywhere!" If humankind is "The image and likeness of God," then how we treat people and the Earth we are given to live upon is the true measure of how we relate to God. What matters is not what we profess to believe, but what we do unto others.

How well are we living up to the Golden Rule put forth in one form or another by all religions? Where are we today? Blind obedient servants of the corporate owned government! How many wars have we been in just during our lifetime? I've lost count. How many children have starved to death? How many species have gone extinct? How many life-sustaining resources are threatened? When are we getting some testosterone/estrogen to change this insanity? On the surface, it sure doesn't appear to be any time soon!

Well there have been some movements, such as the 99%. Seems they have gone underground. You don't hear about them much anymore. There are also voices within all the religions speaking up for honoring human nature and needs. They (we) may often feel like "voices crying in the wilderness" but perhaps we are "preparing the way."

The work of the Berrigan brothers helped me at a very early age to see that Christians were NOT necessarily entranced in a God and Country mentality. I lived close to Catonsville and cheered on their "subversive" and revolutionary work. Through the example of these protesting Priests, I began to see another slant on Christianity specifically and religion over all. Not all of them were 'evil!' Indeed, they emulated the love of Christ!

For God's sake, they followed the teachings of the Man they so adored! Love thy enemy as thyself. The evil we see in others is what we are most reluctant to see within ourselves. In Freudian terms, this is called projection. It was well known several thousand years ago. The command is reflected in our hands. Thus, if you point the finger at someone in blame, you have 3 pointed back at yourself. Yes, George Bush's calling the Iraqis evildoer is a projection about his/our own mindset.

Berrigan's work is reflected in the deep spiritual work of Francis and Elaine McGillicuddy. I met them through a permaculture group that my wife and I belonged to in Portland, Maine. Truly humane, truly religious people do walk among us here on earth. Francis and Elaine are living proof that Love, as we experience it here on earth, is a guide to God that leads more faithfully than institutionalized religion.

Both Francis and Elaine were of the same mentality as I was. In what I saw as a top-down system, the Catholic Church, they stood forth as a couple that spoke to peace from the bottom-up. Their acceptance of human love between a man and a woman as a sacrament of divine love rather than a violation, led them to marry even though it meant Francis' having to leave the Clerical Priesthood and Elaine's having to leave the Convent. In their peace activist work, alongside the Berrigans and others they shone a bright light on what true devotion to peace and justice means. Their labors were about fostering empowerment in the people they served and ministered to. In their work with permaculture, they truly GOT the relational view of the cosmos, of Nature. That ministry, as evidenced by the permaculture group, was also about love for Mother Earth.

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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