Dorothy Day and Advent Love

May the Lord make you increase and abound
in love
for one another and for all.
1 Thessalonians 3:12

Dorothy Day died thirty five years ago today, November 29, 1980.

An ardent pacifist and advocate for the poor, she was an anomaly in her day – and even now. She combined a deep love of God and a profound piety with a life of commitment to the poor and to peace.

So it is astounding that Pope Francis noted her in his address to the US Congress a few month ago:

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

Her message of radical personal and social change was clear and rooted in her faith. In June 1946 she wrote:

What we would like to do is change the world—make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of workers, of the poor, of the destitute—the rights of the worthy and unworthy poor, in other words—we can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world.
We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and dear God —please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.

In the midst of the violence and the cries for war, in the midst of poverty throughout the world and the masses of refugees fleeing war and unrest, her message of Gospel love is so needed.

So this Advent is a time to open our hearts to love and to commit ourselves to see the face of Christ in all – friend and foe – and love them in deeds and in truth.

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