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“Think Globally, Act Locally” for Catholics might be: “Think Universally, Act Creatively”.
I wish more Catholics were as clear as those with modern, greenie bumper stickers that small, local, personal decisions and actions matter very much – not just morally, which we do get, but in terms of making huge sea waves of change in the world around us.
Fr. Luigi Giussani (founder of Communion & Liberation), uses the term ‘gesture’ for a response to reality that embodies the judgment of the actor about that reality he encounters. The judgment must ‘have heart in it,’ according to Fr. Giussani. When the encounter with reality is provoking – when it questions our faith, our understanding, our experience, our preconceived notions – then we have an opportunity.
It will take some time to answer that ‘call’ (see the –vok in provoke that is the same ‘call’ as in ‘vocation’?) and form a clear judgment. The process cannot be rushed along. We must consider what we’ve run up against in light of our heart’s response, and our reason’s information. Then, taking both into consideration, we must formulate a response that, again, is a mere gesture – an attempt to convey in actuality a judgment formed in response to reality.
This gesture then has the potential to be transformative – for us, and for the people around us. As a free act, it expands immediately our own sphere of freedom. As a new fact, it in turn provokes those who encounter it – invites them to answer the call of reality, form their own judgment, and create a response. That’s one model for thinking about the ripples of provocation and freedom, goodwill and humanity that can spread from each particular person. I imagine there are other ways to think about it, but this one has completely captivated my attention because it corresponds so beautifully to my lived experience.
Can you think of one small thing you could do right now to respond to this call of mine?
* Spend the Time * Clean the Mess * Cook the Meal * Sing the Song
*Learn the Skill *Take the Step *Write the Letter * Make the Call
*Give the Gift * Right the Wrong * Speak the Word
*Stop the Violence * Move the Money *Ask the Question
*Offer the Help *Bake the Bread *Finish the Job
*Pray the Prayer *Make the Commitment *Change the Pattern
*Toss the Junk *Kiss the Wound *Embrace the Friend
* Craft the Poem * Keep the Sabbath