Everyday Grace: 3 Ways to Deal with our “Soul-Sickness”

“For a believer, it is important to see racism as a soul sickness. Racism is that interior disease, that warping of the human spirit, that enables us to create communities where some matter and some do not.” (Fr. Brian Massingale)

  • Understand what racism really is. It’s not hating people of another color, though people who do hate are definitely racist. It’s also accepting white privilege as the status quo, and looking at those of other races or nationalities as being different from us.
  • Apply critical thinking to the situation. God gave us minds and expects us to use them. Resist nostalgia for the security that comes from having simplistic answers to complex questions, and engage with the questions.
  • Embrace the Gospel as the basis for our responses. Jesus died for the sins of diverse groups of humans and God raised him from the dead. If we call God “Father,” then we must call every man “brother” and every woman “sister.”

Racism is a complex issue for everyone, but as Catholics we have an obligation to embrace complexity and ask ourselves—in this as in all things—“what would Christ do? What would he want me to do, to think, to feel?” God changes everything.

Here’s a first step: imagine that the tables are turned. Try reading this article and see if you start to think differently about race!

And from the USCCB:

Racism is an attack on the image of God that has been given to every one of us by the Creator (Gen.5:1-3). Because each person has been created by God, we are all united together with the Lord and with each other. Racism rejects what God has done by refusing to acknowledge the image of God in the other, the stranger and the one who is different.

“Racism is divisive and damages the harmony and oneness that should characterize all our relationships. What divides us does not have to destroy us. Differences do not have to frighten us. Following the advice of St. Paul, we can pray for the grace to look beyond our own prejudices: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph: 4:32). Recall that before his death, Christ prayed, “May they all be one” (Jn 17:21).



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