Dear Friends,

 We invite you to sojourn with us in contemplation as we enter this Advent Season.

 Several of our recent meditations have talked about gratitude as a way of life. Today Dorothy Day invites us to see DELIGHT as another way of life. Where do you find delight? How does it echo through your day? When choosing a title for her journal entries capturing her thoughts and prayers over the years, she chose "The Duty of Delight."

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION 842: Servant of God Dorothy Day "The Duty of Delight"

Blessed Among Us

Servant of God Dorothy Day

Cofounder of the Catholic Worker (1897–1980)

In his 2015 speech to Congress, Pope Francis included Dorothy Day among his list of four “great Americans” who offer a “new way of seeing and interpreting reality.” Among those in the audience, there were surely some who remembered that she had been called other things: Un-American, Communist, heretic. Now, with her cause for canonization in process, she may one day be called a saint. If so, she will be a saint with an unusual backstory, having spent her youth among Communists and other radicals. An unhappy love affair ended tragically with an abortion.

And yet, following the later birth of a daughter, she underwent a dramatic conversion and became Catholic. She felt that everything in her past had led her to this leap, including the influence of her radical comrades with their passion for justice and love for the poor. She prayed to connect these convictions with her new faith and found an answer through Peter Maurin, a French “peasant-philosopher,” who inspired her to launch the Catholic Worker movement in 1933. In this movement she combined the works of mercy with a critique of the values and systems that create so much misery. Embracing voluntary poverty, she was often arrested in protests for peace, while pointing toward a new world based on solidarity, mercy, and community. Her life was sustained by prayer, devotion to the saints, and the practice of what she called “the duty of delight.” Pointing toward a new model of holiness for our time, Dorothy Day died on November 29, 1980.

“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.”—Servant of God Dorothy Day

Dorothy writes:

"Today I thought of a title for my book, “The Duty of Delight,” as a sequel to “The Long Loneliness.” I was thinking, how as one gets older, we are tempted to sadness, knowing life as it is here on earth, the suffering, the Cross. And how we must overcome it daily, growing in love, and the joy which goes with loving."

Sr. Helen Prejean writes:

“No Catholic has inspired me more than Dorothy Day. When I awakened to the struggles of the poor, she was there. When I first committed my life to non-violence, she was there. When I first thought of writing about my experiences on death row, she was there. When I struggle to pray and stay close to the suffering Christ, she’s still there. What a spiritual treasure in this intimate record of the sturm und drang of Dorothy’s spirit – her passionate loves and losses, confusions, and daily struggles to serve the unwashed, unfed, and often, un-sober, of America’s streets. There’s a starkness to her soul. She even talks about delight as a duty. You sense in her a steel-ribbed, relentless will, and yet, on every page is her acknowledgement of God’s saving grace and tender mercies – the two magnetic poles of Dorothy’s vibrant life. Thank you, God, for giving us this gospel of Dorothy.” –Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, founder of The Moratorium Campaign and author of Dead Man Walking

From a review in The Christian Book Review:

"But these diaries do reveal a lot of Dorothy Day’s thought process, and shed some more light on who she was as a human being. Sometimes a larger-than-life mythos gets built up around holy people. But Day’s diaries show that, although she stands out for her life of hard work and dedication to good works, she was as human as anyone else. For one example, there were people she didn’t get along with at all, including those she worked with and those she served. And so on. Her diaries reveal her ordinary humanity, since they are made up of her thoughts. But they also show her exceptional determination, work ethic, and faith.

Her diaries cover diverse topics, since she was recording her life, after all. Some major historical events are mentioned, but they don’t become the main focus of her writing. We still learn some of her thoughts on her politics, when she writes about it. But she was motivated by faith, not by politics. Almost everything she did was motivated by faith. Almost everything, she did for God. These diaries reveal that God was always on her mind. We can learn much from her mental attitude of constant focus on God.

There are a couple main themes running throughout the whole 693 pages. Of course one is Dorothy Day’s incredibly strong faith. Another is the hardship involved in running houses of hospitality, and devoting her life to performing the works of mercy — feeding, clothing, and sheltering the poor.

And another theme is that of nonviolence. The principle of nonviolence was one she was firmly committed to all her life, ‘to the point of folly’ she might say. It’s a topic she writes about in her diaries, year after year. As others around her gave up on nonviolence for the sake of revolution and radical change, she stayed committed. This book is full of her thoughts on nonviolence, nonviolent resistance, and her firm antiwar convictions.

These thoughts are quite relevant today. She was writing during times of war, strife, racial injustice, inequality, and revolution like what we see today. She wasn’t blind to the despair of it all, to how horrible life on this fallen world is. But she turned to her faith and remained hopeful through it all. Her faith and determination to do her Godly mission during times of global upheaval are ideals we should aspire to. Since the times she was writing in are like the crises we’re living through now, her thoughts offer useful perspective on staying faithful through eras like ours."

Upcoming Events

This Advent we invite you to join us in reflecting on the Freedom Poetry of Advent as offered to us by the work of Maya Angelou. The introduction to this time of reflection includes a quote from Maya:

“I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say, ‘I’m a Christian.’ I think, ‘Already? You already got it?’ I’m working at it, which means that I try to be kind and fair and generous and respectful and courteous to every human being.” + Maya Angelou

If you are seeking a prayerful focus for Advent, and Maya's works speak to your spirit, we hope that you will join us! We will gather for one hour each Wednesday of Advent (from 7:00-8:00PM) during Advent sharing on the suggested scripture verse, along with the poem by Maya selected for the week, and proposed practices for us to further integrate the sacred messages. You will find Digital and Print options for the Prayer Guide attached to this email.

The link will be the same link we use every Sunday for Eucharist. We will send it out again on Wednesday.