All Life Is Interrelated

by Sister William McCue OSF

The second in a series on active nonviolence from the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa (

Underlying the concept of active nonviolence is our belief that all life is interrelated in goodness from our Creator. This knowledge of our connectedness is to be transformed into loving action. Building relationship is essential to Christian living as exemplified in the Gospel and lived faithfully in the life of St. Francis.   Both Jesus and St. Francis modeled extending relationships especially with the marginalized of their societies.

Jesus welcomed the little children and invited the blind beggar to approach him. He cured the daughter of the Canaanite woman, dined at the house of Zacchaeus, and conversed with the Samaritan woman. He welcomed sinners and ate with them.

St. Francis, in his zeal to follow Jesus, tried to overcome his aversion to lepers. In The Legend of the Three Companions we read that one day Francis was riding his horse near Assisi, when he met a leper, and even though he usually shuddered at lepers, he made himself dismount and gave the leper a coin, kissing his hand. After he accepted a kiss of peace from the leper, Francis remounted and continued on his way. Francis later exclaimed that this action changed what was once bitterness to sweetness. This simple conversion act, a kiss, brought Francis a totally new understanding, a new knowledge and a new realization that would ground his gospel of peace.

Like Francis, a young couple I taught had the experience of bitterness turning to sweetness. I received a phone call from them announcing the birth of their autistic son. The mother cried, “Why us?” Her husband queried, “Why not us?” Suddenly, they experienced an inner peace and overflowing joy for the gift of their son, Evan. In the years since his birth, Evan has brought inexpressible sweetness into their lives.

Who/what are the lepers within and outside you? What barriers keep you from relating to certain persons or groups? Reflect on an experience which turned bitterness into sweetness for you.

Published in: on May 21, 2015 at 10:43 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Reblogged this on Felician Congregational Office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation and commented:
    Underlying the concept of active nonviolence

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