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.”