Dorothy Day and the peaceable kingdom

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb
and the leopard with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 11: 6

Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, died on November 29, 1980. I don’t know of any US Catholic who tried so well to live the vision of Isaiah. It was not easy as she dealt with the poor and the outcast in New York, facing the violence of those who suffered from alcoholism and drug-addiction, as well as from the violence of poverty. But she continued and called for nonviolence in the face of poverty and war.

She was one of those “little ones” who grasped the Good News of the Reign of God (Luke 10: 21).  In the September 1938 editorial of The Catholic Worker,  she wrote:

“Today the whole world is in the midst of a revolution. We are living through it now – all of us. History will record this time as a time of world revolution. And frankly, we are calling for Saints. The Holy Father in his call for Catholic Action, for the lay apostolate, is calling for Saints. We must prepare now for martyrdom — otherwise we will not be ready. Who of us if … attacked now would not react quickly and humanly against such attack? Would we love our brother [or sister] who strikes us? Of all at The Catholic Worker how many would not instinctively defend [themselves] with any forceful means in [their] power? We must prepare. We must prepare now. There must be a disarmament of the heart.”

In a world beset with poverty, violence, and insecurity, may God disarm our hearts and open them with love to those most in need.

That’s what Advent is about and Dorothy Day shows us a way to live that.


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