Recently, the Kentucky Council of Churches invited me to share my thoughts for its newsletter on the very familiar verse from Micah, chapter 6, verse 8: “You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” The final product is a fitting reflection for the Year of Mercy, and so I am sharing it with you:
In an age that has been characterized as an age of assertion, followers of Jesus are called and given the grace to discover what the gift of self is. In calling this year a Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis speaks of Jesus as “… the face of the Father’s mercy” — a mercy that can really be shared only if first experienced. Thus, the familiar advice of the 8th century prophet Micah is not so much a self-help guide but a path that requires humility.
Father Servais Pinckaers, O.P., in his “Spirituality of Martyrdom: to the Limits of Love,” notes that martyrs ought not first conjure an image of some brave act for the faith; rather they should evoke a faithful witness of words and action in one who aspires to “walk humbly” and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. Micah is not giving us a blueprint for justice as much as an attitude, an attitude in which the follower looks outward toward giving rather than asserting.
In the Road to Character, David Brooks captures Micah well. Where our age extols “résumé virtues” (putting our best foot forward to the world), the age desperately needs “eulogy virtues” — those for which a person will long be remembered and which are carried into eternity — faithfulness, patience, lasting service, sacrificial love. In these qualities, Micah’s call for the right and the good will always be followed humbly on this journey we call “life.”
Reminder: Sept. 9 Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Our Communities
Speaking of the call to do right and love goodness, I want to remind Catholics about tomorrow, September 9, which is a national day of prayer for peace in our communities. Following the deadly attacks on police officers in Dallas during a protest rally stemming from the killings of two men in Louisiana and Minnesota, I extended a call to prayer, reflection, civility and peaceful dialogue. I later appointed Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta to head a special task force to make concrete recommendations to the Bishops’ Conference to put flesh on this call. The first step of this task force was to ground our efforts in prayer together.
We in the Archdiocese of Louisville will gather as one people at St. Martin de Porres Church (3112 West Broadway, Louisville) at 7 p.m. for an evening of prayer. Such prayer is born from a deep conviction. The conviction is this: love overcomes evil, and the gift of love comes from God, the Father of us all. So we gather to beseech Him to help us receive well and share this gift as we walk with and assist suffering communities. Since we are observing this day of prayer on a Friday, our traditional day of fast, I also invite Catholics throughout the Archdiocese to observe a day of fast to raise awareness about our need for healing and reconciliation.
The presence of Catholics from throughout our archdiocese will send a strong message of support and solidarity. Please join me tomorrow evening for this prayer service.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz