Even in a world that’s being shipwrecked, remain brave and strong.
Hildegard Von Bingen
In the 12th century, St. Hildegard described the world as “being shipwrecked.” Living in 2020, it brings me a strange sense of comfort to know that she felt this way too, as I feel tossed about and unmoored by current events. The litany of injustice in recent months is long, but the wisdom of scripture and St. Hildegard provide guidance.
The prophet Isaiah writes that God “will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” The repetition of the second line describing the food stopped me as I read. Read it again and savor it. What a lavish description of God’s abundance. Not only will all people be fed but the food and drink will be juicy and pure. God not only sustains us but gives us more—sustenance that provokes delight and gratitude.
The gospel continues the message of God’s abundance. All people, “good and bad,” are invited to the banquet of radical hospitality and inclusivity. Sometimes we “ignore the invitation” or attend to our work instead of joining the feast because other matters feel too pressing; however, the feast is what sustains us.
The collective mess of the world feels overwhelming right now, but how might we notice God’s abundance, even in the small things, to help us make it through?
This is not a naive call to optimism, to say “Don’t worry” or “Let’s just pretend everything’s ok.” The problems in our world right now are real and deadly serious, and the quantity of them often leaves me feeling like I’m drowning—emotionally and spiritually. For me, the only way to stay afloat is to trust in God’s abundance. Those small moments each day inspire gratitude and keep me moving to do my part in the work for justice, to keep the collective boat afloat.
- Have you ignored the invitation to delight and gratitude during your days recently?
- Where are glimpses of God’s abundance for you right now, even with all of the uncertainty in the world, even as it feels like our collective boat might be sinking?
- What sustains you in this time to keep doing your work for justice?
Brenna Davis is director of Education for Justice and environmental initiatives for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. She graduated from Boston College in 2010 and served in Cleveland as a Jesuit Volunteer. She previously taught theology, coached cross country, and served as main office coordinator at Saint Martin de Porres, Cleveland’s Cristo Rey High School. During her time there she was the self-proclaimed assistant to the director of facilities in all sustainability initiatives on campus. She is a certified spiritual director and a Cuyahoga County Master Recycler.