I commented in this blog on April 27, 2020, that it seems timely for Catholics to prepare for the next spiritual metaphor of the COVID-19 epic. The phenomena of quarantining and distancing, which continue to evolve as we struggle to understand the virus’s long-term behavior, first seemed to invite the world into a kind of retreat experience, “growing us up” through private acts of self-denial and quiet isolation to ponder our priorities and responsibilities as individuals. Emerging conditions now call for even bolder spiritual adaptations as we return into the hot sunlight of the public square. Christians might want to respond by adopting the metaphor of a “devotional” that can guide us on a new journey together.
The devotionals in this analogy are a genre of books used to focus believers’ attention on particular areas of their spiritual or moral life. This genre helps people connect the resources of their faith to the demands of practical decision-making. These books often follow a “day by day” structure, where each small chapter comprises a topic-specific title, a related passage from the Bible or another inspired set of guidelines, and a contemporary reflection or set of questions to enlighten the reader. This can be a form of preparation for a journey. After our “retreat” of realignment to principles, we’re ready to accept a newly urgent sense of “mission”–to facilitate and optimize the sweeping changes anticipated to arise in this time of COVID. A long season of self-satisfied Catholicism seems to be coming to an end.
Perhaps the task ahead for all people of good will is the mop-up of a mess–the aftermath of a global pandemic with its accompanying impacts stirring uncertainty, vulnerability, and volatility. The health crisis, with its social, political, and economic turmoil, has forced us to examine complicated matters such as financial stability, international relations, trends in physical and mental well-being, and crucial moral and spiritual ramifications. It behooves us to plan for a period of problem-solving that leaves no room for hubris or laziness. Pundits already call this prospect the “new normal.” Catholics may be called to see this prediction of “transformation” as an opportunity for evangelization. It evokes Pope Francis’ often-cited image of parishes as “field hospitals” where tough diagnostic questions are asked, cures are sought, and an underlying task is compassion for the traumatized.
Ultimately, it’s a compassion based on knowing we’re all in this mess together: We have to offer each other the best that we can be–along with help for all to contribute their own personal best. If we are to be devoted to this goal of world-healing, any resource we carry as a “devotional” must help us keep learning through our faith and keep listening to our brothers’ and sisters’ diverse perspectives. We also need to be better informed about the fast-moving policy challenges that threaten to derail whole societies. Accordingly, we must stabilize ourselves, becoming better conformed to the faith, hope, and love (along with truth, goodness, beauty, and joy) we pursue in deeper relationships with the Lord.
Aiming to facilitate sharp course-corrections by sharing Christ’s love and the Church’s wisdom, imagine us pioneering what I would call “urgent-care discipleship.” What shall we bring to the public discourse about policy breakdowns and radical repairs? All of the traits mentioned above! But we must not be “know-it-all” evangelists, bounding on to the secular scene like specialists holding revealed wisdom that will solve every problem and prevent every misstep. Instead, we must present ourselves as generalists who ask really good questions and who see how everything is connected to everything else. We explain that our faith is not about having all the instant answers to all the world’s crises, but it is about having a big, beautiful view of the world–a world in the care of a loving God–that allows us to contribute meaningfully to the answers we all need.
To the degree that secular governments and organizations will be making room for inclusive and well-reasoned conversations in the middle of turbulent times that seem to demand quick, “transformative” answers, people of faith must earn and keep their place at the table of discourse. I propose doing this through an emergency-room evangelization that radiates compassion and a peace of heart, rather than a spirit of superiority and blame. A world which no longer welcomes God but quietly knows it needs supernatural aid will recognize Christiantiy as a proven force for good, but it will want to hear Christ’s followers say, “We are at your service. What is it you need? Here is how we believe the Lord’s grace can enter into our deliberations.”
And I believe the Lord will act through people of faith to raise exactly the right questions, to stir up the appropriate amount of surprising insight and mysterious mercy, just as he did when Jesus walked the earth. Likewise, he will use people who are humble rather than haughty, marginalized rather than elite, well-formed rather than rebellious, ready to share the heavy yoke of suffering and pain rather than angry or impatient or committed to the illusion of autonomy.
Why are questions so crucial to discipleship for such a time as this?
Questions have become the lingua franca of a world educated for deconstructionism. So many people have come to distrust people and institutions claiming the authority to posit answers and impose responsibilities. When we ask questions, they can be invitations to respect all sides of the story, to note that everyone can take ownership of the search for solutions.
Questions, when formulated correctly, are a portal into a ,panorama. They can’t be merely journalistic “follow-up” questions that ask to hear more from the dominant players about their plans. The basis of questions from people of faith must be an effort to express curiosity, a hunger for information, prompted by a lively worldview that includes marginalized people in all kinds of group. This curiosity, ultimately an effort to take God’s view of situations, can keep asking courteous but challenging questions like: What about the effect on this or that group of people? Have you thought about the ramifications for this or that area of concern, or for broader concern about the whole human ecology and the environment? Can we hear more from other voices about their reaction to this problem or that proposed solution?
Questions can open up discussions to people who lack the pre-established “authority” or “expertise” that is usually expressed by submitting “answers.” Often, the answers go into such depth that they can dominate the discourse. It’s important to go into depth to scrutinize all aspects of situations and plans, but we must also capture a breath of perspectives on the answers. When parties seated around a society’s tables of discourse include requests for broader input and reminders of additional considerations, .they can show respect for the experts. But their questions may also uncover the experts’ own inevitable biases and blind spots and, through additional input, make the proposed solutions even more detailed, fine-tuned, transparent, and just.
A motif of dynamic, spontaneous questioning is a good way to boost humility among all participants. Sometimes, the questioner is simply acknowledging that he or she does not fully understand what is being said at the moment, and this can lead to further explication, causing everyone to be better informed. Sometimes, questioning keeps the presenters of proposals more humble if they must acknowledge there are aspects of a plan which aren’t as clear or certain as they might have sounded in a first presentation. Also, welcoming questions from all participants prompts everyone to be more engaged and not to stand silently apart with a stance of victimization or constant complaint. Humility is an appropriate response to the high levels of uncertainty, even mystery and paradox, which may be inherent in the crises faced and solutions considered.
Questions recognize that words used in debate these days are too often oversimplified or weaponized in manipulative ways. Or they may need clarification simply because the words used within a culture evolve in their meanings or may carry “baggage” that distorts conversation by injecting assumptions and emotions. In discussions where multiple cultures and countries may be involved, it’s necessary to confirm that all participants agree on the meaning of a word, and the emergence of cross-cultural synonyms will increase learning not only about the thing being described, but also about how others will respond to that thing given the diversity of perspectives. All of this is also true of the need to scrutinize statistics and metrics used in argumentation. The effectiveness of discussions is affected not only by what is said, but by what is left unsaid or “assumed.”
Questions are also the first tool of “urgent-care discipleship” because they are recognizable as the necessary first step in any “urgent-care” situation. Medical personnel or other “first responders” must begin their work with extensive inquiry into the context of the discussion topic–its past as well as its present, its objective realities as well as its subjective effects. The role of subjectivity–indeed the fundamental need to treat all parties as “subjects” with inherent dignity rather than “objects” who are simply acted upon–also reminds leaders to care sincerely about the participants in a discussion, to take into consideration the pains and hardships they are experiencing and fearing. These may not be factors that “think tanks” and other experts weigh when drawing up their policy proposals, but they are sure to affect the success of discussions and outcomes. In a medical urgent-care setting, it’s expected that the first questions will be basic: How are you feeling? What hurts? Could this problem be related to some other underlying issue? These are the first steps in what Pope Francis would call genuine personal encounters and efforts to accompany others on the way to remedies and renewal.
These points constitute my tribute to the role of questions as a problem-solving force that Catholics and Christians, and all those with an authentic focus on “the other,” will want to bring to the table of discussions where emergency responses are considered but deeper, longer-term, less technocratic, and more human solutions must also be weighed. At first, an inclination toward asking tough questions may be seen as a nuisance or stalling tactic, especially if people of faith appear to be blocking proposed actions seen as fast and convenient but utilitarian and shallow in a short-sighted way. In the long run, practitioners of diligent inquiry who are surfacing deeper insights from minds and hearts will gain more, not less, credibility and trust. They will be invited to offer their own interpretations–and make their own proposals–whenever “easy answers” are revealed to be insufficient.
And emphasizing questions is not to say that people bringing God to the table should shy away from making proposals. Their proposed solutions will carry more weight than might even be acknowledged, partly because their obvious engagement in the process and their goal of big-picture understanding will make them more persuasive among other participants. Also, when the proposals they make are seen to be informed by immense resources of faith and reason as embodied in past and present Church wisdom, it will be more difficult for more secular discussants to dismiss them. They will see in Church wisdom the same well-intentioned inquiry, person-focused compassion, and zeal for consistent, ecologically aware, connection-making initiatives shown by those representing spiritual strengths at the conversation table.
That is the point I took away from sagacious secular commentary I have found from editorial content consultant Sean Blanda in a blog post, “The Other Side is Not Dumb,” He was cited in the book, Writing to Persuade by Trish Hall. Blanda invented a game he called “Controversial Opinions,” in which players ask each other “why they feel a certain way” about a topic or proposal. They cannot ask any other questions. Players with opinions that differ are not allowed to defend their views with conventional argumentation but first must report on their new understanding that they are in the presence of people with “objectionable” ideas. The players then have homework: They must sincerely look into the facts people have offered to explain why they feel the way they do. This mandate for listening and learning would make a good source of reflection for those entering into complex, urgent policy deliberations.
I also found support in a July 1, 2020 article by Our Sunday Visitor, “Member of Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission Says ‘We Must Use This Opportunity to Envision a Better Future.'” The Catholic newspaper interviewed Rev. Augusto Zampini, a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and a participant in the commission Pope Francis created to consider the Church’s next steps in the post-lockdown phase of the viral pandemic.
Zampini clearly believes the Church has a position to take and a role to play as diverse voices around the world participate in shaping the “new normal.” It is a galvanizing role that does not shy away from stimulating critiques of the pre-COVID “old normal” or making specific, big-picture proposals for consideration. He cites ideas for justice and mercy the Pope has suggested in the past to address systemic policy problems now seen more compellingly everywhere. They include initiatives for debt forgiveness, decreased military spending, and improved sharing of available resources with needy persons on the margins of society.
Member of Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission says ‘We must use this opportunity to envision a better future’
Father Augusto Zampini, the Vatican’s adjunct secretary for its Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, who was appointed with a leading role in the Vatican’s new COVID-19 Commission, has a message for the world.
“We need leaders in public, private and civil sectors to press the reset button — to once and for all realize that the way we have been living our lives until now is not sustainable,” Father Zampini said.
As lockdowns are being lifted in some countries, others, such as the United States, are seeing a rise in new cases. Father Zampini said, “We must avoid the belief that the crisis is over; many countries across the world have not yet reached a peak in infected cases, and millions of people are still being afflicted by the virus.”
Father Zampini, born in Buenos Aires, was ordained a priest in his native archdiocese in 2004. Before entering the seminary, he studied law at the Catholic University in Argentina and worked as a lawyer at the Central Bank of Argentina and at an international law firm.
Father Zampini spoke with Our Sunday Visitor about his role on the COVID-19 Commission and the Vatican’s response to the crisis that coronavirus has afflicted upon the world.
Our Sunday Visitor: What does Pope Francis expect from the work of the commission?
Father Augusto Zampini: The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest symptom of the underlying ecological crisis. Along with other global crises such as climate change, social inequality and food insecurity, the pandemic stems from the weakness of our current social and economic institutions. However, the sudden interruption of social and economic activity has granted us an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on the shortcomings of our institutions and development models. This is why Pope Francis considered the commission a necessary creation during this drastic moment of change. The world will not be the same. The Vatican COVID-19 Commission was envisioned as a mechanism through which the Church can become an active institution throughout the crisis, standing by those in need, giving a voice to the forgotten and presenting world leaders a new path, different from a rapid return to a “normality” that was unequal and unsustainable.
Our Sunday Visitor: Through its five working groups, what stands out in terms of concrete ideas or plans to work toward at this stage?
Father Zampini: We have come up with a robust set of proposals, including first debt reduction or cancellation, reviewing the sustainability of current sovereign debts, lowering interests rates and cancelling debt obligations so as to enable countries to use fiscal surpluses to invest in health systems; second, calling for cease-fires and the reduction of weapons production, redirecting financial resources away from military expenditures and increasing peace-building efforts to pacify conflicts before their escalate; third, tailoring social protections to marginalized groups like universal basic income, public provision of essential goods, extending work visas for seasonal workers, simplifying hiring procedures. As the commission enters Phase 2, we must now give shape to these proposals.
Our Sunday Visitor: “We must think of the aftermath, so we are not unprepared,” Cardinal Turkson, head of the dicastery and the commission, has suggested since the commission was constituted. What did he mean?
Father Zampini: The world was horribly unprepared for a crisis of this scale. We were shocked by our own vulnerability in seeing how public health systems were horribly overwhelmed, supply chains disrupted and millions of livelihoods threatened. There is a natural instinct that pushes for a return to old institutions and a quick economic recovery. This, for us, would be the worst outcome. We must use this opportunity to envision a better future.
Our Sunday Visitor: The dicastery has spoken about the importance of sharing best practices. What are some that have come to the table so far? How will they be able to be implemented on a greater scale?
Father Zampini: Thankfully, many instances of best practices have been brought to our attention through our partners, our contacts with local churches and through the Secretary of State. For example, finance is an essential tool to reconfigure our economies toward a better, inclusive and sustainable future, so we want to promote investments compatible with our social, moral and religious values. Concretely, this means moving investment portfolios away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energies; away from deforestation-risk activities toward large-scale reforestation initiatives. Studies have shown that these kinds of investments have actually proved to be more resilient throughout the pandemic than traditional investment portfolios. We know that these initiatives already exist, so our primary goal is to support them.
Our Sunday Visitor: How have you, as a commission, been able to work together? Smart working? Social distancing in offices?
all of the traits mentioned above, but dfDoes this mean that we mst be know-it-all evangelists, ready with solutions for every problem? Not at all, I would say. It means we need to be humanity’s best question-askers, uniquely prepared to challenge and inspire people with the Catholic insight that everything is connected to everything else.
providing “first-responder fellowship.” If we’re looking for resources to support this goal, a few things come to mindWe’ll want to have a practical knowledge of what has gone wrong and a zeal for improving the situation in a policy context, but we can’t show up at the crisis scene acting like know-it-all surgical specialists or control-freaks assigning blame and barking orders. Let’s hope our society will have the time, inclination, and attention span to provide space for sorting out broken procedures aAaaaaand promises, as well as tap into “tables of discourse” in our public squares and commercial media. It’s a figurative term but a fundamental resource for a democratic republic–pre-established, locally nurtured wellsprings of deliberation among citizens, where all voices are heard as authentic perspectives rather than mass-marketed ideological talking points. One hopes, with some trepidation these days, that the voices will include those informed by religious values and traditions alongside those reflecting modern, secular movements backed by big money and/or personal self-interest.
To earn and keep our place at the table of discourse, people of faith earthly it benefits no one to deem them debate, we’ll want to be engaged, fair-minded, well-inforpeoplemed exemplars of conversation and good listening. Because many people are both relativistic and moralistic, eager to identify who’s right and wrong, good or evil, we’ll also need to respect both the unlimited dignity and inevitable brokenness of every human life.
Conditions in our society are increasingly recognized as fragile on many fronts–from health to income, from the national economy to global finance, from disrupted family life to failure in schools and other community institutions, from fear of crime to anger about racial injustice, from absent ethics to confused perceptions of reality. We’ve kicked many cans, and many conversations, down the road for a long time, making us vulnerable to a cascade of dilemmas.
This is a pattern in which we’ve all been complicit. We have been lulled by our own bubbles of indifference, pampered luxury, confirmation bias, artificial realities as a form of entertainment, distractions through vice, ego inflation due to feelings of superiority or victimization, and erasure of guilt or compassion through schadenfreude or demonization. We haven’t examined our own consciences or even tried to inform our consciences in the appropriate, challenging way–conforming our principles to the Golden Rule, which is the door through which God’s self-sacrificing love enters into everyday mind frames and practices.
Catholics, Christians, and all others with a lively sense of the common good must work very hard to keep alive the possibility of a love that is focused on the other, especially if our hard-pressed world becomes even more dominated by knee-jerk emotions and utilitarianism as the answers to our problems. Our conversations will need to be focused on the other, too. As a good devotional book would instruct us, insights into truth will arise situation-by-situation through the asking of good, timely questions.
And whom do we ask? Ultimately, God–who will speak through the Holy Spirit who resides in the baptized soul. The Spirit also abides in the midst of any group that is genuinely determined to seek Him, to find charitable ways out of our problems, to humbly seek truth that pierces all our deceptive bubbles, and to promote life beyond the conveniences of the moment. That’s a life of beauty, truth, and goodness, which point us toward the future and even help us glimpse an excellence that exemplifies eternity.
So the future is a time of letting many voices be heard. One might guess the Lord is telling us this by having invited the entire world into the pandemic retreat experience. All of creation is important to Him and is engaged in a journey toward the eternal happiness He offers. This God of infinite diversity has created each human being with a unique combination of gifts suited to a purposeful journey that is mysteriously bound up in creation’s holistic destiny. No person’s distinctiveness should go to waste, so it is an act of love to draw out this distinctiveness and let the gift be re-gifted. As Pope Francis said in his 2020 message for World Communications Day, God is the great storyteller who has created a magnificent “cast” in which nobody is consigned to a bit part.
Here are a few reasons why the disciples sent forth into tomorrow’s crises will want a devotional for askinghe devotional for today’s disciples is all about questions.
As mentioned earlier, conversations are often short-circuited because other people’s answers may be bitterly rejected if they dent our egos or demand reductions in power and pride. Many people today have been raised to think they hold all the necessary answers within themselves, or that they ought to have all the answers and can’t admit otherwise. Truth to tell, some of these people may be deeply wounded after not being raised with the confidence and competence that yields knowledge and wisdom. They may hunger for better solutions but are unable to acknowledge their weakness and uncertainty. That is tragic because God can make them strong in their weakness and can reward the total trust birthed by healthy helplessness.
Questions can create the space and time for many people to lift their voices. Their ability to participate in solution-seeking discourse starts the flow of Holy Spirit wisdom into the marketplace of ideas, and an array of perspectives serves to fine-tune existing ideas while prompting entirely new ones.
Don’t Kick Conversations Down the Road
We might need to raise our hands and shout, “Excuse us! Not so fast, please! Have you considered this risk or built-in bias? Have you taken into account moral principles of justice and benevolence for everyone–the marginalized as well as the lobbyists and activists?” Do we want to idly accept gambits like midnight approvals of 2,000-page legislation containing dubious clauses hardly anyone has read? Or emergency measures imposed unilaterally under martial law or sweeping, little-known statutes? Sometimes sharp and swift action is justified, but the over-zealous often overreach and generate more harm than healing.
Anyone who feels called to help clean up the radioactive mess before it melts down will need to be ready with compelling responses. Both the religious constituents, pursuing missions of evangelization and discipleship, and the well-intentioned secularists, pursuing “law and order” or “peace and justice,” will need to understand the full, honest history of structural problems which have festered in society. They’ll also need to pinpoint all the sources of strength and hope, the material and human resources, we can marshal to yield optimal remedies. Those seeking to buttress their prescriptions only with appeals to God’s will or chapter-and-verse tradition mayy face severe pushback in a culture dominated by relativism and distrust of institutions.
I use the oversimplified, shorthand image of a devotional to sum up the toolkit we will need when the time comes for rigorous but cool-headed deliberation in the public square. This metaphorical “book” would be more like a set of books, or a long-running online database, Or it could be a simple set of principles, embodying both faith and reason, with both secular and religious grounding, upon which communities can build an integrated, balanced way of life.
This lifestyle will have grown from the grass roots through inclusive conversations embracing everyone’s unique strengths, taking on one problem at a time in light of people’s rights and responsibilities and appreciating how everything is connected to everything else. It must have a sense of peace, justice, forgiveness, and hope within it, leaving room for gradual, consensual discernment of basic rights and wrongs. It would create space for feelings of happiness and joy, celebrations of beauty and goodness, a winsome side to its wisdom.
A Devotional for Deliberation
This would be a wellspring for people with the gift of authenticity and humility and the power to persuade. What a wonderful mission it would be to develop a devotional whose lessons and reflections could empower us to weather a perfect storm of complex problem-solving, prepare for a “new normal” whose transformative changes don’t incite fears, and find peace in an ecology of simplicity, connection, and communication.
This is akin to the vision that inspired John Lennon to write his song, “Imagine,” although his lyrics took a turn toward deconstruction, disruption, and prescribed self-surrender so sweeping that paradise might have to be forced on us. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I propose a devotional to moderate that otherwise beautiful song and make its strategy more practical.
A toned-down vision would allow for greater patience with longings deeply ingrained in humans, a gradual growth of knowledge and attentiveness in fields of governance we too often hand off to “specialists,” a heightened curiosity about the strengths and weaknesses of our past and analysis of the logic in our economics, financial structure, political systems, and other institutions. Also, imagine the amazing qualities of each unique human being, from race to sexuality, from intellect to emotion, from faith to reason, from equal dignity to unequal outcomes, from individualism to tribalism, from egotism to self-sacrifice, from saintliness to sinfulness. We find ourselves wondering: How might everything in this list be better assessed and appreciated–toward a more complementary, sustainable place in the human ecology?
A culture of curiosity about people and their lives, especially when its’s explicitly striving to identify synergies for the common good, discovers similarities as well as differences; in the liberal spirit of John Stuart Mill, it respects core values held in common and stimulates a healthy competition between different values that encourages dialogue and enriches everyone’s perspective. Ultimately, a devotional with these themes would cultivate compassion and persuasion, not animosity or imposition. Its practitioners would thrive on asking great questions even more than positing final answers.
That’s the message of editorial content consultant Sean Blanda in a blog post, “The Other Side is Not Dumb,” which was cited in the book, Writing to Persuade by Trish Hall. Blanda invented the game “Controversial Opinions,” in which players ask each other “why they feel a certain way” but cannot ask any other questions. The player with a different opinion is not allowed it to defend it but instead is simply responsible to accept that he is in the presence of people with ideas he dislikes. When those people respond to him by offering him supportive facts, he must look into them rather than dismissing them as untrue. This would make a good source of reflection for readers of a “devotional for deliberation.”
Fruits of a Culture of Curiosity
In the case where policy-makers are urgently seeking a solution to a policy crisis, the movement toward a wise course of action is not paved with binary conflicts between two advocates’ answers, but with additional information generated by people offering their distinct perspectives. Deliberations are more clearly acts of exchange in the marketplace of ideas, and no one, including the decision-making leaders, can assume there is only one useful answer.
This fresh, simplified approach to a post-COIVD crunch time makes the prospect of exercising accountability less fearsome. It makes it possible (and proves it’s inevitable) that people with different understandings will have different answers; no one on any side will be deemed to hold a monopoly on right answers. Therefore, a devotional for deliberation is affirmed in its original role–to guide solution-providers through both sacred reading and diligent reflection. Meanwhile, the same devotional calls Catholics, Christians, and all people of good will to a simple, open-minded, big-picture viewpoint on life–an intimate, trusting relationship with the Lord that acknowledges there’s always more we still need to learn. We shall responsibly proffer the truth in charity, but we also shall humbly sit at the table of discourse alongside others who have voices to be heard, gifts to be shared, and needs to be met. Leaving room for the Holy Spirit, we keep listening for God’s full truth, and we show our aspiration for good, wise conclusions.
We can confidently play our proper role in bringing the Church’s fullness of truth to a world facing chaos and crisis. But, if we incorporate this truth not into didactic statements, but into creative, thought-provoking questions suited to the multiple variables in tomorrow’s policy calculations, everyone can benefit. First, our emphasis on persuading, rather than pontificating, will not be pushed back or de-platformed by the powerful. Second, we will help to introduce additional information and interconnections into the discussion; decision-makers will be less likely to take shortcuts through issues they recognize as operationally intricate and ethically important to all participants at the table. Third, with our metaphorical “devotional” having drawn us into a receptive way of life, we will have been prompted to ponder the fuller meaning of, and the optimal applications for, the values we’re promulgating.
The pandemic has tasked us with a new journey. I hope to keep writing about this phase–after the surprise retreat into darkness and before the hard-won recovery of sight–because I believe God can use it to keep teaching and tasking our community of seekers. He is inviting the whole world to communicate and collaborate in light of our shared vulnerability and shared dignity. He knows that arrogance, anger, or narrowmindedness from people devoted to His Word can’t work transformative wonders like his own scriptural “voice in the zephyr.”
It seems some kind of devotional for research and reflection will help us. Our privileged communion time with the Lord will bear fruit only if it enables us to provide the most comprehensive, compelling questions wherever deliberations are convened. Our talking points may be hard truths, but we will have brought along the supernatural joy, hope, and trust that everybody at the table knows is needed repair our human ecology. Can we systematically prepare, starting today, to make sure we will have the knowledge that will inspire good questions, the humility that will enhance our persuasiveness, the sure-footedness that will spark our curiosity, and the sense of global connectedness guiding real concern for each individual human? Can we imagine a devotional that grows richer in insight as we gain a soul-winning simplicity? That would be a gift from God, regardless of the consolations and desolations he will permit during the COVID crisis timeline, Let’s increase our conversations with Him and the whole world because we dare not miss all we can learn, and all the renewal we can be equipped for, from our immersion in uncertainty and our urge to question and ponder like never before.