"Many voices are now raised to urge that we undertake a fundamental shift in our world view, our attitudes and our behaviours. The main reasons for this are the unprecedented degree of destructive power that we now possess, the global interconnections that have developed in our economic exchanges and personal communications, and the insight many scientists have into how nature itself moves from one stage to the next. Our present position however, is new in that the shift before us will not happen without our highly conscious intention to bring it about, because it is essentially a transformation in our conscious intentions themselves."
P. 140, The Holy Thursday Revolution by Beatrice Bruteau, Orbis Books, 2005.
Following the unexpected retirement of Benedict XVI, intense daily media coverage swept the world. Who would be the next successor to Peter? Every available cardinal’s life was scrutinized. Top runners in the media’s race were tracked down for interviews. Speculation ran rampant. Would it be the Canadian Marc Ouellette, Italy’s Angelo Scola or Brazil’s Odilo Pedro Scherer? Everywhere people wondered, “Who will it be?”
As I passed our living room yesterday afternoon the usually quiet television was alive with news. A sister called, “Come and see.” Suddenly, there I was watching history unfold in front of the whole world. An hour passed in anxious anticipation. Reporters gamely filled the time repeating the names of favoured cardinals and scripted Vatican patter. Finally — movement behind the balcony curtains. An official appeared and announced, “Habemus papam — Jose Maria Bergoglia of Argentina”! — not a front runner at all.
Soon from behind the red drapes a friendly, unassuming 76-year-old in white was escorted to the balcony as the crowd roared and cheered. Our new Pope Francis 1smiled and greeted the throngs. Humbly he bowed his head and invited the world to bless and pray for him in a moment of deep silence. He, in return, offered a blessing to the world.
How will His Holiness Francis 1 lead his flock in the 21st century?
Already, as I drove home last night, the newscasters were asking, “Will he be liberal or conservative? Will he be pastoral or political? Will he be at home or travel the world? One thing I know for sure. We have seen great things today. We have witnessed and been part of a moment of global expanded consciousness. We were one as we placed our hopes and aspirations at the feet of our new pope. We are thrilled at this new moment of possibility. We are immensely happy you are our Pope, Francis 1.
Jean Moylan, CSJ
Probably like me, you’ve been told, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Author, CBC TV host and commentator, Amanda Lang, in her recent book, “The Power of Why” would advise adults to disregard the conventional wisdom of this advice. “Don’t talk to strangers,” might be considered prudent advice for youngsters; however, Amanda points out that it curtails one’s thought potential. Rather than discouraging talking to strangers she encourages grown-ups to step out of their comfort zones and do just that.
Following the format she uses throughout her book, Amanda first examines the benefit of Talk to Strangers from the perspective of the business world before focusing on the positive consequences of employing such an approach in one’s personal life.
Amanda cites the corporate example of the OTIS elevator company, a worldwide success in the mid-1990s. OTIS decided to bring all of its researchers worldwide to Farmington, Connecticut to work in their Research and Development labs. This shared platform of communal thinking gave birth to what would become their fast growing product, the Gen2 elevator. The newness in elevator design occurred by putting together people of differing ideas. Amanda writes: “Their ideas and clashing opinions bumped up against each other in ways that nudged each group member out of his own comfortable mental groove and forced them all to rethink the basics. The team at OTIS pressed the control-alt-delete on elevator engineering.” By cleaning the slate, they were able to create ‘the new’ together.
Amanda switches our attention to how confronting different perspectives through being immersed in different experiences is mind-expanding on an individual level. She writes: “People who’ve had a stranger-in-a-strange-land experience are not only more creative, they’re also almost always more curious–they’ve had to be, simply to figure out what to bring to a dinner party or what to say in a job interview in a foreign country.”
Amanda makes references to researchers who maintain that we can create our own stranger-in-a- strange—land experience and surface the creativity of the outsider advantage. The author points out to us : “that we can create psychological distance from the nitty-gritty of our problems by thinking about a problem as though it were occurring in the future, or to someone else or far away. And if that doesn’t do the trick surround yourself with people who are dissimilar, so that the situation itself introduces feelings of psychological distance. “
I have just given you a little peek into one of the chapters of “The Power of Why”. I recommend you take the time to enjoy the multiple insights and memorable examples Amanda Lang provides in her readable twelve chapter book, “The Power of Why”. As Peter Mansbridge writes, “This is a lot more than a book about business, it’s a life book.”
Nancy Wales, CSJ
“To speak of the personal Christ as the personal center of the cosmos is to speak of the Spirit as energy, personally present to every living being and creature, the energy that creates fields and fields into creatures and creatures into mirrors of God. Because this energy is full of potentialities, the Spirit of new life is always creating the future. Hence the fullness of Christ is always on the horizon; the complete unification of all that exists into a unified whole is always before us. The whole-maker, the one who lives in Christ, embraces death as ‘sister’, as part of the family of life, because death is the transcendence of limits toward the fullness of life. The most catholic reality, therefore, is death, and the mark of Christian life is to embrace death. Life in the cosmos is drama, and the next act always anticipates something more creative, something new emerging out of the chaos of the old.”