a society in which it is easier for people to be good

it’s been many years since i had read dorothy day’s “the long loneliness.” it is an inspiring read. i happened upon a key quote from her book that shaped her life. here it is:

“(Peter Maurin) stressed the need of building… ‘a society in which it is easier for people to be good,’ he added with a touching simplicity, knowing that when people are good, they are happy” (Long Loneliness, p. 170).

“a society in which it is easier for people to be good” is a phrase that has been an inspiration for me for decades. for me, it is a framework that helps navigate how to look at our world and how it operates. for me, it goes beyond partisan politics and points us to the common good for all. as a person of faith, i believe that “being and doing good” is an essential aspect of love

this relates to the phrase: when people are good, they are happy. indeed, love brings us happiness; when we love, we bring others happiness. this might sound self-evident, but i can tend to forget this simplicity of love in the complicated world in which we live.

getting to know peter maurin was key to dorothy’s faith conversion. peter stressed the need to perform the works of mercy at a personal sacrifice. so, these are the works:

  • Feed people who are hungry
  • Give drink to people who are thirsty
  • Clothe people who are naked
  • Shelter people experiencing homelessness
  • Visit people who are in prisons
  • Comfort people who are sick
  • Bury people who have died

all these are actions for people in need. i highlight the word “people”

of course these actions are a response to the final judgement in matthew 25: 31ff. maurin taught that there must be a personal sacrifice toward these. how many christians actually, deliberately make a personal sacrifice for these actions for others in the way they live?

personal sacrifice helps us not fall into the trap of ideology– religious ideology included– and focus on people. we are called to love PEOPLE. when ideas become greater than real people, we can justify acts of “non-love” towards people whom we ought to see as our brothers and sisters. ideology divides; love unites

so, my friend, if you are reading this post, i invited you to ponder, “… a world where it is easier for people to do good.” what can that look like in my own backyard?

and think about the God given gifts in your life. how can i share these gifts with real people in need? can i see this sharing as chosen acts of love that help this world take a step in this direction of love?

i pray the Spirit lead and guide us in this love and for a society where it is easier for people to be good.

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