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A Statement on the Deeply Disturbing Events at the US Capitol from President Regan and Principal Lewis

Yesterday afternoon, even as we are full of the Incarnation and the Christmas season, our nation was accosted not by the Incarnation’s light and hope, but of darkness, despair, and sickness.

As fellow Americans stormed the Capitol in anger and hate, our country reeled, aghast at the fragility of our democracy, the cost of complacency and hopelessness, and the damage that unchecked power can wreak in society. Among many other things, this moment calls for prayer, teaching and transformation.

We might take heed from the famous “men for others” speech delivered by Fr. Pedro Arrupe. In the tradition of the biblical prophets who criticized their own communities when they weren’t living up to their values, he called out Jesuit schools for not adequately preparing their students for the work of social justice. “Have we Jesuits educated you for justice? You and I know what many of your Jesuit teachers will answer to that question. They will answer, in all sincerity and humility: No, we have not,” Fr. Arrupe said. “What does this mean? It means that we have work ahead of us.”

It would be difficult work, Fr. Arrupe continued, but we have the tools to do it — tools still accessible to us today as we continue to pursue justice in our own era. We have the Ignatian tradition of “constantly seeking the will of God,” discerning how God might be calling all of us to respond to the signs of the times. “Men and women for others” are therefore marked by a willingness to pay attention to the injustices around us and to develop a “firm resolve to be agents of change in society; not merely resisting unjust structures and arrangements, but actively undertaking to reform them.”

As we respond to the call to be agents of change in society inspired by God’s special love for those on the margins, we will inevitably be led into the public square to participate in the messy, urgent work of politics. Through political and civic engagement, we can use our voices to advocate for the transformation of social structures that are marred by sins like racism, sexism, nativism, economic inequality, environmental degradation, the targeting of human life and dignity at every stage, and so many others.

Ours is a community that is centered on Christ and our coming to know Him through the depth of relationship that we share with each other. We seek to be and form servant leaders who are sincere, selfless, and humble. Today we pray together for the broader healing that needs to occur in our country.

We must pray and believe in our hearts this morning…

Gracious God,

In your loving heart, you made us.
Each of us, you made unique.
But it was not good that we should be alone, So you placed us in community.
You made a purpose for each of us: to serve you by serving our human family,
And in turn to be protected and nurtured by it. You made us the Body of Christ.

You have taught us, your children, that we are called to be women and men for others:
To walk with the excluded.
To safeguard the abundant world you have made our common home.
To call young people into a spirit of creativity and encounter, where your voice can be heard.
And to show others, in the way we walk, a pathway to God.

As we reflect on our calling
to help build a just and sustainable society where all this is possible,
We humbly turn to you:
Bless our bodies with strength and determination. Fill our hearts with the compassion of saints. Ordain our minds with wisdom and vision. Empower our spirits with faith and truth.

Employ our hands to lay a lasting foundation to bless generations to come.
Lord, you invite us to find you in all things.
As we collaborate as a people in the building of our society,
May we find you there.
In our principles and laws,
May we find you there.
In our policies and programs,
May we find you there.
In our courts and bureaus,
May we find you there.
In our streets and squares,
May we find you there.
And in our neighbors, especially those on the margins,
May we find you there.

We make this prayer through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.