This weekend Pope Francis concludes his visit to the United States. While here, he will have raised many important issues that are spiritual, political, personal and societal. That's in part because we are connected with all creation. It is frequently a challenge to be citizens of the wealthiest, most powerful and uniquely blessed nation in the history of the world, and also to be a practicing, believing, living Catholic. I think that is also the mainstay of parish life - helping one another maintain our Christianity when we are confronted with so many alluring options.
In light of Pope Francis' visit, I'd like to suggest each of us consider one issue and one person from whom and with whom we are settled, certain, and distant. Perhaps it is a hot button issue of economics or immigration; maybe it is a former co-worker or relative who was incredibly insensitive and nasty; perhaps it is a teaching of the Church that seems untenable. The key is, it has to be something or someone that has caused me estrangement from others.
Then in a private consideration, can I ask God's help to see the other side of how I have approached this for so long? Can I consider, if only hypothetically, that I might have been missing something, or even wrong? Maybe while I was feeling poorly treated, I also treated the other poorly? Can I let down my own self-protections and open myself to a personal examination of my motives, which might not be quite as pure as I would have liked to believe?
The path to peace in the world is always going to begin when we make peace in our own hearts and lives. And for that to happen, each of us will have to be willing to humble ourselves before God in order to get a clearer and cleaner picture of what is actually going on, as well as some vision of the unity that has been ripped by disagreement and anger and frustration. Healing is always possible. We simply need to ask God to help us, and then it begins.