Seeking the Divine in the Darkness

Braving this Time with Courage and Wisdom

As we approach these days before a national election, we are called to embody the Divine spark in a new and challenging way. For us here at NETWORK we have been walking in new ways this election year.

For the first time in our forty-eight year history, we have taken a positon on a presidential candidate. We have opposed the re-election of President Trump because he does not embody any aspect of Catholic Social Teaching. (Read our statement: “Catholics Cannot Vote for Trump”.)

NETWORK has created a Pope Francis Voter website and created social media ads to promote it to viewers who might not otherwise see it. With the help of a NETWORK supporter, we have created this website in Spanish and created Spanish-language social media ads.

We have boldly spoken out about the fact that to solely support the criminalization of abortion or oppose a woman’s right to make a moral choice is not embodying the fullness of the teachings of our Catholic faith. We have spoken the truth that we are pro-life in our support for pregnant women through health care, nutrition, housing, and myriad other pro-life policies. (Download the Equally Sacred Scorecard.)

We have created a virtual Nuns on the Bus trip that is focused on being a multi-issue voter. This is a multi-faceted trip focused on critical states to advance our democratic effort to bring the Gospel to life. (Join the 2020 Virtual Bus Trip.)

But, the whole experience is groping in the dark as the spiritual journey and politics converge. And then hearing of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I was pulled into a deep sadness and sense of cataclysmic destruction. In the midst of tears, it led me to remember my August retreat where I had told my retreat director that I like the dark because the dark lets the Divine shine.

This led me to thinking about the Dark Night of the Soul and I began to consider that this is the dark night of our nation. Theologian Matthew Fox refers to this as “lucky darkness” where there is little or nothing to steer by but the fire deep in our hearts. Meister Eckhart calls this the “spark of God” urging us on to follow and learn.

In the midst of these dark nights, chaos reigns and there are no guideposts that are to be trusted. In the face of such darkness and worry, what are we to do?

This moment calls for spiritual courage to face the struggle and trust that the Divine spark is alive in our midst loving us into courageous action, wise words, and generous hearts.

In this experience of liberating darkness during these last weeks and days before the polls close, let us commit ourselves to sacred action. Then in whatever follows, let us commit ourselves to be missionaries for the common good. Let us bring the truth of the Gospel and the strength of the Spirit with us into action so that the prayer I prayed on the last night of the Democratic National Convention might be realized:

The very first paragraph of the Scripture that informs the three Abrahamic traditions tells us: “The Divine Spirit breathed over the waters of chaos and brought forth a new creation.” Encouraged by this promise that a new creation can come from chaos, let us pray:

O Divine Spirit!

During the weeks and months ahead, stir our hearts and minds that we might fight for a vision that is worthy of you and your call to honor the dignity of all of your creation.

A vision of who we are as a people, grounded in community and care for all, especially the most marginalized.

A vision that cares for our earth and heals the planet.

A vision that ends structural racism, bigotry, and sexism so rife now in our nation and in our history.

A vision that ensures hungry people are fed, children are nourished, immigrants are welcomed.

O Spirit, breathe in us and our leaders a new resolve…that committed to this new promise, we will work together to build a national community grounded in healing, fearlessly based on truth, and living out of a sense of shared responsibility.

In the name of all that is holy, O Spirit, bring out of this time of global and national chaos a new creation, a new community that can – with your help – realize this promise that we affirm tonight.

With profound hope, let we the people say: Amen!

Watch Sr. Simone deliver this prayer.

This story was published in the Fourth Quarter 2020 issue of Connection magazine. Read the full issue.