Become What Your Country to Be

A story told by Anthony deMello in his book, Awareness:

“A Jesuit once wrote to Father Arrupe, his superior general, asking him about the relative value of communism, socialism, and capitalism. Father Arrupe gave him a lovely reply. He said, ‘A system is about as good or bad as the people who use it.’ People with golden hearts would make capitalism or communism or socialism work beautifully.”

DeMello goes on to say, “Don’t ask the world to change-you change first.” My philosophy in a nutshell. I would expand on his statement by saying that I am part of a community and one person changing is a start of the whole community changing. This is, by the way, what a prophet does.

In our current political situation,  this is a hard concept to get let alone live. I have to ask myself, “What do I want my country to be?” Then I have to decide to effect change by changing myself into that. I want my country to be fair and just and merciful. I want my country to listen to the poor and disadvantaged and use its collective power to lift them up and help meet their needs. I want my country to value each person or group as part of the whole. I want my country to work for the good of all and for worthy purposes, not just the good of those who watch out only for themselves. I want my country to seek peaceful negotiation over violent means to solve problems, especially international problems and always to respect the fact that other countries need to watch out for their own just as we do. This requires compromise and even sacrifice.

That is a big order that I am laying out for my country. I have changed a lot in my years toward becoming person that might look like I describe above. I need to say that I could not have changed at all were it not for those souls who have journeyed with me. It is these people who form the communities around me that give me hope. These are people who, like myself, work to become what they want their world to be.