Justice is the currency of love in society – can I do more?

How many slaves work for you? What is your carbon footprint? Do you support the union that supports you? Is the clothing you buy made by workers in sweatshops? The answers to these questions can be found in the websites listed at the end of this article. I encourage you to spend some time over the next few weeks reading the information at these sites and discussing with your family how you might make lifestyle changes to contribute to making a more just society. Advent is coming and it would be a great time for you think about the refugee baby in a borrowed manger and his parents, anxious to return to their home.

Love one another

The Pope’s latest exhortation to young people linked the sentiments to the Great Commandment of Jesus to love one another. This Commandment can be lived out practically through embracing Catholic Social Teaching and principles of Social Justice. Eight of our nine Year 11 Religious Studies classes are studying Social Justice this semester and the other class, studying Religion and Science have been focusing on how science and religion can cooperate together to create solutions to poverty, injustice and global warming.

Year 11 RE classes had the privilege of hearing Sr Genny Ryan speak about slave trafficking. Past students have been so moved by her presentation that they have taken up studying law at university in order to be part of combatting such evil. Sometimes a spark lit at school becomes a passion that can be of changing lives.

Year 10 RE classes have also been investigating how they as individuals can make contributions and create awareness of social issues important to them.  We have been very impressed at the way in which Year 10s have engaged in these investigations and how they have applied relevant Church and scripture teaching in their reflections.  There was a wonderfully inspiring episode on Compass on the ABC recently that demonstrated how a Year 10 student used her passions and talents to raise awareness of health issues in Africa and how she devoted the next few years to studying, becoming a health professional and making a difference to the lives of others. We hope we can inspire all of our students to consider their calling and make a positive difference to others. (Watch It takes a Village)

The Arts and Religion

Year 9s and some Year 12 classes have explored how we experience the sacred in the Arts and how the Arts can inspire us to engage with religious and spiritual teaching. We have been uplifted by the creative responses from Year 12s, especially a beautiful song for worship.

Just recently, Pope Francis canonized five people from three continents who have achieved the status of saint, all of whom we can be inspired by. They too made a difference to others in the lives of their communities and are role models for us today.  The first three listed below spent their lives working for the poor. The saints canonised were:

  • England’s Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890);
  • Italy’s Giuseppina Vannini (1859-1911), founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus;
  • India’s Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan (1876-1926), founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family;
  • Brazil’s Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes (1914-1992); and
  • Switzerland’s Margherita Bays (1815-1879), a laywoman.

Finally, I conclude with a prayer by Roger Courtney. If you say it slowly, mantra like, you will be become consciously aware of the needs of others and in that awareness consider how you might respond.

Let Justice Flow Down
For half the world’s population who have to live on less than $1 a day
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those suffering from malnutrition and treatable diseases
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who experience discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, role, religion, beliefs, disability or sexuality.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who sleep rough;
and those who have nowhere they can call home.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who have experienced physical, mental or emotional abuse, or domestic violence.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who are unemployed, or in employment that is dehumanising or degrading.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who are denied their basic human rights by military dictatorship or oppression.
Let justice flow down like a river
Justice is the currency of love in society.
Let us be instruments of justice in the world.
(Source: Roger Courtney, Progressive Christianity)

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ETHICS WEBSITES WORTH INVESTIGATING

Ethical Investing

Rights of the worker

Rights of people with disabilities

Can I do more?

My Carbon Footprint calculator

How many slaves work for me?

Is your clothing from ethical sources?

Climate justice

 

PRAYERS FOR JUSTICE

https://pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au/?p=550

https://ameliakoh-butler.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-prophetic-voice.html a prayer for justice

 

Anne Armstrong
Religious Curriculum Coordinator

 

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