Day 36: Standing Together in the Fire
BY KATE GIANCATARINO | March 29, 2023
I am reminded of the quote, “Peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work, it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” The author is unknown, perhaps a wise sage that transcends tradition or ideology.
In today’s first reading, we are presented with a trio of brothers who risk their lives for their faith. They held fast to their convictions and could have paid for their steadfastness with their lives. Instead, their faith was rewarded.
As we consider what to glean from their story, we can ask ourselves: what are we willing to stand up for? What are the causes, the people, the actions we are willing to sacrifice for?
Is it racial justice, environmental justice, gun control, immigration, an end to war, or something else? While there are many ills and injustices in our world that attract our attention and our hearts, one thing is for certain, we cannot fight alone. We need to rely on our community to stand with us and support us. And we need to do the same. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego relied on each other for strength. They knew they had each other no matter what was to happen to them. And their collective action made their resistance that much stronger. And Jesus was with them, accompanying them through the fire.
I had the privilege of attending the Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance mini-immersion this past August. A group of university faculty, staff, and bookstore managers met in North Carolina to learn “The Story Behind Ethical Textile Production.” One of the lessons I left with is that the Industrial Commons is not one person trying to bring back ethical production. It is a collective. A group of people are working to restore the industry and provide a more just way of life for the larger community. They are considering land use, water conservation, fair wages, educational practices, and many other intersectional concerns. They are making change by working together. They are standing in the fire together and coming out of the ashes with a better society.
- Who are the people who stand in the fire with you?
- Who are the people you can rely on to work for justice with?
- What can you do this season to show appreciation to them?
May we all recognize the calm and the community amidst the struggle and the chaos this season.
Kate is the Senior Director of the St. Thomas of Villanova Center for the Common Good at Villanova University. Kate is also an active member of the Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance. Kate has degrees from The University of Scranton and Boston College and now lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three daughters.
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am – says the Lord. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego offer inspiration to the young and to the young at heart who keep storming the gates of justice.