One definition of the word reflection is “an image as seen in a mirror.” In addition, we often use this term to reflect on a prayer or other topical subject.
As we continue our efforts to becoming more diverse and inclusive in our own organizational structures, reflection as used in either of these ways should be considered. When we look at ourselves, do we see a reflection of those persons living in poverty that we help? Here in Canada, I doubt if this happens very often. If not, we need to ask ourselves some serious and at times, uncomfortable questions. Do we place a high level of importance on becoming more reflective of those we serve? Do we reach out to fellow parishioners from more diverse cultures and invite them to join us? Do we collaborate with like minded organizations who may share our common goals or may have some insights on becoming more diverse? Do we approach those we serve with an invitation to enter a dialogue on these issues, and, to join us?
I believe we can also use the second use of “reflection” to have a time at our future meetings to reflect on these issues and consider taking appropriate actions. Let us reflect on our own personal ways of thinking and how we may each require some change in our views towards more diversity.
The new social justice model should not only look at injustice as it may relate to persons living in poverty but also injustices that act as barriers to anyone being able to fully participate in society. This may include education, housing, healthcare, and employment. These barriers become even more challenging if systemic racism is also a factor. The common good of every human being is something we can each address, as individuals, and as Vincentians.
It may time to REFLECT on these issues and ACT.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
I respectfully acknowledge the traditional, unceded territories of the Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit, on which lands we meet, work and live.