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How Wide Is My Heart?

In 2018, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter against racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.” Their words are a call to conversion of heart which compels us to action. This letter develops a familiar verse from Micah 6:8, “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

I believe that rooting out racism is an endeavor that takes a lifetime. From the first step, realizing how we unconsciously live out of bias, the journey is a very challenging movement that leads ultimately to an active embrace of all peoples. It is a journey requiring a deep humility and a willingness to be converted. It is a journey of both the head and the heart and, I believe, best undertaken with the support of a communitycommitted to honest sharing and learning together.

In widening my heart, I experience a stretching with many dimensions:

• the stretch of aching as I suffer when others are tormented, abused, murdered
• the stretch of discomfort as I realize my own unwitting complicity with patterns of racism
• the stretch of maintaining hope when the future looks grim
• the stretch of reaching out to take action unsure of its results
• the stretch of realizing my own brokenness
• the stretch of abandoning myself into God’s embrace.

What type of stretching do you experience on this journey?

Our Ursuline mission is the transformation of society through contemplation, justice and compassion. For me, uprootingracism in our society is a call within my call to be an Ursuline sister. Likewise, for all of us, ending racism is a call within our call to be loving members of the human family. To widen our hearts is a call from God’s Word ever new.

Sister Virginia DeVinne