A Letter from
The Catholic Imagination: A Call to Conversion
“There is a crowd of people who have let American politics influence the lens of their faith, rather than using the lens of their faith to look at politics.” -Gloria Purvis
What is the Catholic Imagination and how can it animate and inform our conversation on addressing the personal, social and institutional sin of racism? If you google “Catholic Imagination” this is what you’ll come across: “the Catholic viewpoint that God is present in the whole creation and in human beings” and that “human beings are channels and sources of God's grace.” It takes discipline and commitment in training our eyes to look into the world with the eyes of faith, hope and love, because after all, as Gloria Purvis puts it, our “allegiances are to Jesus Christ.” The Catholic Imagination challenges us to stay focused on the “Kingdom of God” in the midst of a deeply wounded, chaotic, and unjust society.
As Christians we’re not called to spectate the world from a window, removed from the current social challenges facing the human family, rather our faith compels us to action, to be engaged in the world, to live in the footsteps of Jesus and serve as “channels and sources of God's grace.” We are called to lift our voices wherever human dignity is threatened. To promote a consistent ethic of life, from conception to natural death and everything in between.
The sin of racism, manifested in the personal, social and institutional dimension, continues to be a grave threat to human dignity. “Doubting” Thomas, didn’t believe that the Lord had risen until he placed his fingers in the wounds of Jesus, signs of the crucifixion. Thomas experienced conversion and the power of resurrection only when he dared to touch the wounds. In the Catholic imagination, transformation and renewal can only take place when it’s rooted in both, personal and social conversion.
Are you and I willing to touch the historical and contemporary wounds of racism that impacts the daily lives of our African American sisters and brothers? Are we willing to experience resurrection, together?
Let’s look within ourselves and manifest our commitment to daily conversion by our actions!
(Source: ‘We are seduced by temporal power’: Gloria Purvis on racism, pro-life politics and the lure of the devil. America Magazine https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/09/23/gloria-purvis-interview-racism-pro-life-politics-devil)
(Andrew Mercado is the Vocations Coordinator for the Assumptionists, one of the chaplains to ALANA and first generation students at Assumption, and Minister in Residence for the PSW residential area.)