BY MARCOS GONZALES | March 17, 2021
Today’s Readings

I have the privileged role of accompanying my school community in becoming more trauma-informed. This work has felt more poignant as we exist in this collective moment of trauma. In her TED talk given in 2014, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris described the experience of trauma as that of encountering a bear in the woods. Our fight or flight response serves to protect us in this life or death situation. She then invites the audience to imagine living with this bear, waiting for the bear to come home every day. The ongoing impact of chronic stress is what we have globally faced over the course of this last year. Yet, Dr. Burke Harris’ work on adverse childhood experiences highlights the reality that these situations have long been present for so many in the U.S., especially within BIPOC communities. The inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of systemic racism show how BIPOC communities have had to “live with the bear” for far longer than these last twelve months. 

The Power of Relationships

One of the most important ways that we work on being trauma-informed is through the power of relationships. Relationships are critical in helping those who have been faced with adversity. Over the course of these last twelve months, the strength of relationships can be seen in communities coming together to support their neighbors through mutual aid societies, through activists organizing to advocate for greater equity in vaccine distributions and resource allocations. 

Today’s reading from Isaiah speaks of hope-filled days for those who have been living lost in exile—the restoration of Israel, healing of relationships, once lost and broken. For many of us, we have long been waiting for a light at the end of the tunnel, the light of greater justice to be celebrated for all. For the Israelites, that hope comes from God’s steadfast love, God’s reassurance that they are not forgotten, they are not forsaken. We have the power to respond to this moment of collective trauma, to bear witness of God’s steadfast love for us, through remembering our kinship to one another. In remembering that we belong to one another, we can be the healing relationships responding to this moment of collective trauma.

For Reflection: 

  • Who in your community is facing adversity due to the pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism?
  • How are you being called to deepen your relationship with those facing adversity?
  • How might you be a beacon of God’s steadfast love to those whom you have named?

4 replies
  1. Dan Price
    Dan Price says:

    “BIPOC communities”? Have no idea what this means. Please be aware that the postings have a general audience.

    Reply
    • Marcos Gonzales
      Marcos Gonzales says:

      Thank you for your question, Dan. BIPOC is an acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It is a term that seeks to expand the term of People of Color by leading with Black and Indigenous communities who have historically and systematically faced violence, cultural erasure, and discrimination.

      Reply
  2. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    I was having a conversation with some of my sons’ friends. They are kind and compassionate men and women and are glad to come to my son’s house that is all vaccinated. It was nice to talk without masks. They explained to me that they feel comfortable being cultural Catholics. They don’t need that meaningful encounter that I described previously. They said basically that they are Catholics that do what is asked, like stopping for a red light. No discussion just do it! They go to Mass, attend baptisms, attend weddings and do all that is asked of them in their eyes. I asked them about what they thought about the relationship they established at their baptisms, in which they promised a relationship with God, their Father, the Som and the Holy Spirit and use those graces in service to one another. They are not interested in that kind of relationship as it is too scary! I tried to explain that God loves us immensely and forever whatever we do. I encouraged them to deepen their relationships with prayer and the kindness and compassion they have shown to me for a long time. I agree that life is scary but my relationship with God at this point in my life is not scary but loving like the love they have for their mates or friends. Relationships are important and need time, patience and work on our part from the Incarnation (Baptism) through Resurrection. I encouraged them to be patient with themselves and keep developing that love for God.

    Reply
  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Thanks for this thought-provoking article. We need to be sensitive to the yearnings of Planet Earth. Deep down I feel the Planet wants its citizens to seek and find justice. Working towards it and achieving that precious milestone could be a win-win situation, facilitating the healing process in human beings and the Planet.

    Reply

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