Submitted by Sr Liz fcJ from the Edmonton community, Canada
A book challenging to read . . . More challenging to pray: The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice – A Month of Meditations with Ignatius of Loyola by Patrick St. Jean, SJ.
Over the past few years I have listened to some excellent webinars and workshops on White Privilege. These excursions into life as a white person were informative in that they made me aware of the advantages and privileges that life offered me simply by being born white. I grew up conscious of the great disparity in the living conditions between the Indigenous peoples in and around my town, and white folks. I had a small sense of how this came to be from the Canadian history I learned in school. I had very little connection with black people. Most of what I learned of black people was from the media, which did not give a very positive image. In recent years I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know many wonderful BIPOC people (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
Patrick St. Jean’s book, The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice: A Month of Meditations with Ignatius of Loyola, is helping me to look at the mixture of feelings inside me when I hear stories about the injustices committed against BIPOC individuals and groups and even when I encounter a homeless person trespassing on our property. As well, it has awakened me to some difficult truths about myself. I know I’m not racist, but now I realize that’s not good enough. I want to be antiracist if I am to have an effect on systemic racism but that entails continued inner work and prayer that leads to action.
This book beautifully weaves together an invitation to the interior work necessary to deepen our commitment to racial justice.
As challenging as this book is, I particularly like it because it uses the Spiritual Exercises in a timely and creative way. As one of the comments on the back cover notes it “beautifully weaves together an invitation to the interior work necessary to deepen our commitment to racial justice.” That is a daunting task, but each small change of heart and action towards a more loving and inclusive community brings us closer to the Reign of Heaven here on earth. We are, each one of us, the image of God.