Follow the Daffodil. There is Only Light in Front of Us
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
4d ago
Sometimes it’s hard to gain perspective. The situation in our world just doesn’t seem to let up. The war in Ukraine continues. The devastation in Gaza is still being revealed. The dysfunction in Congress seems unending, The political season promises more polarization.  I reflect on all the years that so many of us have been a voice for transformation — calling for more just economic policies, addressing the climate crisis, urging a new and improved immigration policy, advocating for a nonviolent approach to resolving conflicts and respecting the human dignity of each person. And I have ..read more
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Let ‘Bursts of Joy’ Break Through Life’s Chaos
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
2M ago
Recently, I have felt that Debbie Downer and I are joined at the hip. Debbie was a character who appeared in NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” sketches between 2004 and 2020. Her pessimism would seep into every conversation, adding bad news to whatever was being discussed.  She came to mind as I reflected that whenever I read the news or listen to what is happening in my friends’ lives, it feels like the chaos ending 2023 has only intensified. If I dare to hope, there’s Debbie telling me it is useless. If I want to share something good that has happened, there she is reminding me of how much s ..read more
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This Christmas Season, Consider that ‘Hope is the Memory of the Future’
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
4M ago
Christmas lights sparkle through the neighborhoods. Christmas music fills the stores. Wrapping paper and ribbons create festive gifts. Parties are planned. Families and friends gather. It is the Christmas season once again. As preparations for Christmas begin earlier and earlier what is becoming more overlooked is the season of Advent. It is a quieter time; a time of waiting; a time to prepare oneself. Advent invites us to reflect on the historical birth of Jesus and the future yet to be — the second coming. Advent is a time of hope.  Given the world we live in “hope” is certainly needed ..read more
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Giving Thanks for Those Who Lived Out of Love
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
5M ago
During this November, I feel the events in our world mimic the growing darkness as winter creeps into North America. The escalating violence in Gazaseems unstoppable; the invasion of Ukraine by Russia ; the ongoing ridicule and threats by Donald Trump continue unabated against those in the judicial system who are trying to adjudicate his multiple lawsuits. These are the times when I wish I was more like my mammalian relatives who go into hibernation for a few months and just let life go on. I wonder, what can I do? Where can I find hope? What is there to be thankful for?  Then three rece ..read more
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Let Love Prevail in a World of Violence
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
6M ago
What is wrong with our world? How can people continue to engage in massive killings and indiscriminate attacks? Why do some think depriving men, women and children of food, shelter, water and fuel will bring about peace? Tears well up and screams of frustration burst forth as I bring to my prayer what is going on in the world.  Throughout the world, smoldering embers from fires started long ago are erupting once more, destroying everything and everyone in their wake. Attempts to put them out only seem to fan the flames more. Even though human consciousness continues to evolve and develop ..read more
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Can Catholics Be Progressive? Absolutely!
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
7M ago
That is the answer I would give to the above question. It was posed by the facilitator of a focus group to eight Republicans. Each of them answered the question about whether a Christian or a person of deep faith could be politically progressive, and they each answered “No.” This segment on the PBS NewsHourfeaturing the work that Judy Woodruff is doing on the situation in our country disturbed me greatly.  The reason it was disturbing is that I have just completed a project with Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby, where I served as executive director from 1982-1992. Mary N ..read more
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With Great Diversity, We Are Still One Nation
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
9M ago
have always loved maps. I remember how in grade school we had to draw the outline of each state for geography class and learn what that state produced that contributed to the overall economy. Or opening up a neatly folded map to navigate a road trip with a yellow marker showing the way. There was something comforting and amazing knowing that someone had traversed the country finding all these roads, rivers, cities, towns and landmarks.  The entire map of the United States gave me a sense of how all these individual states with their shapes and geological identities were part of a whole ..read more
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Priests’ Meeting Put Into Practice Living Synodality In a Polarized World
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
9M ago
It was a most welcome surprise to work with the Association of United States Catholic Priests recently. There has been such public resistance among a certain group of bishops and laity to Pope Francis’ vision and the reluctance to embrace the spirit of synodality, that to gather with close to 200 priests from around the country to explore unity through synodality was a needed shot in the arm. These men who continue to minister within the spirit of the Second Vatican Council take Francis’ vision seriously and have chosen contemplative dialogue as their process for when they gather in their ann ..read more
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Communal Contemplation for Healing the World
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
10M ago
One hundred-twenty leaders gathered in Iceland for the Spirit of Humanity Forum and I — having been invited by the Fetzer Institute — had the privilege of being one of them. The theme was “Healing a World in Crisis: Leading with Authenticity and Love.” We gathered from around the world: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, India, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Turkey, U.S., Indonesia, the Philippines, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Thailand, Japan, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Iceland. I share the list to demonstrate the great diversity of c ..read more
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Opening Our Eyes to Seeing Differently
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue Blog
by Nancy Sylvester
11M ago
Waiting to board a plane, I sensed movement to my right. When I turned, I saw a young woman gesticulating in front of her phone. It took me a moment to realize that she was hard of hearing and was talking using her phone.  I had not seen that before and I thought how wonderful that she could now see and be heard in a way that was not accessible to her ever before. The image of her silently yet wildly talking lingered with me. I became aware that at different times and for various reasons we become aware of something in a new way — we begin to see differently.  For her, technological ..read more
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