A spiritual exercise to help guide action against injustice

CNS photo/Alejandro Alvarez, News2Share via Reuters CNS photo/Alejandro Alvarez, News2Share via Reuters

This week Jim McDermott, S.J., joins Tim Reidy, Zac Davis and Kerry Weber in conversation about how to respond to moral crises in Charlottesville and beyond.

“Charlottesville is another moment when… there is so much surprising stuff happening, and it creates such a strong response that it becomes difficult to parse…. Outrage is like a fire—once it starts it burns everywhere,” Father McDermott said.


He looks at the tragedy of Charlottesville and, drawing from the Jesuit tradition. suggests “a spiritual exercise we use to help us keep some perspective in the midst of our lives.

“Say you watch CNN or Fox...before you turn it on, take a moment to put yourself in the presence of God—a moment for peace, a moment for gentleness, and to ask God: ‘help me see you, help me see what’s important as I listen to this, or how I’m feeling when I’m watching this.”

Father McDermott noted that reflection is key to guiding the action that follows—he is not recommending people “bury their heads in the sand” but rather that they are “contemplatives in action,” to use another Jesuit phrase.

“We each need a secret garden right now,” Father McDermott said. “We shouldn’t live there all the time but we definitely need one to continually nourish us and stop us from becoming our outrage, or becoming our fear.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

For Thanksgiving, we give you an inside look into what Jesuit basketball teams to watch out for this season.
Olga SeguraNovember 24, 2017
An interview with the founder of Giving Tuesday.
The EditorsNovember 24, 2017
Hipsters love the authentic, the craft and the obscure—which is exactly why Catholicism, in its practices and its aesthetic, is perfectly suited for them.
Zac DavisNovember 17, 2017
We tend to think of Hispanics as newcomers, but we need to keep in mind the long history of the Latino Catholic presence in the U.S.
The EditorsNovember 16, 2017