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I Renounce Them: Week 5 | Day 5

As good as our intentions may be, we can become complicit in the evil we renounced in our baptism. Br. Jonathan Maury encourages us to reflect on how, in our daily life, we might contribute to the evils the fourth Mark of Love names, and to renounce them.

Question: Ask God for help in being aware of the choices you are making which contribute to the suffering of others. What actions could you take to transform that suffering?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Icons of Hope


Transcript: In the Rite of Holy Baptism, the candidates are first presented by name.  They are then asked a question, “What do you seek?”  At the time of their response, they say, “I do,” and they are asked to make baptismal vows.  This is an electrifying and very powerful moment in the baptismal rite when it is used in its fullness.  The candidates make three renunciations of evil in all its forms.  “I renounce them.  I renounce them.  I renounce them,” as they face to the west.  Then they are invited to turn, to turn to the east, toward the rising sun, as they are asked to turn to Christ as their Savior, to trust in his grace and love, and to obey Him as Lord.  “I do.  I do.  I do.”

We’re committed, right from the first by God’s love, to this awareness of the world as it is, not as we would have it.  We are reminded each Lent on Ash Wednesday, in the litany of penitence, how we can become complicit in the evil which we have renounced, or become lax in the ways in which we follow Christ.  We confess our appetites and desires that in various ways ignore others and exploit other people.  We also speak of our carelessness and pollution of God’s environment and creation, and our lack of concern for others who are to come.

God’s desire in drawing us to himself in Christ is that we may be transformed, that our awareness of the world may be transformed.  And it begins with daily life.  We look to see, for example, and start to ask the questions, “Where might we be complicit in the evil, which we have renounced or lax in following Jesus?”  The energy, for example, that we use daily, where does it come from, how is it produced, and what human cost, at what cost to the earth?  The food and clothing that we have produced at various places in the world, often by persons in poverty, or our clothing, those who work in dangerous situations to create inexpensive garments that we can wear.

We’re called to this new awareness, this Christ awareness, that we may be transformed, and we transform the world to God’s vision.  Ask God for help in being aware of the choices you’re making which contribute to the suffering of others.  What actions could you take to transform that suffering?

– Br. Jonathan Maury

Question: Ask God for help in being aware of the choices you are making which contribute to the suffering of others.  What actions could you take to transform that suffering?

Week 5 Activity: Icons of Hope
Icons are images that open us up. They act as windows that let the light of God shine in. This week’s activity invites you to compose your own “icon” for the Kingdom of God. Draw or paste in pictures that help you recall God’s vision, to create a collage that lets God’s light shine in.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

8 thoughts on “I Renounce Them: Week 5 | Day 5

  1. A friend of mine is suffering with stage 4 cancer. She has taken chem and radiation to no avail. She still has hope and I am so moved by her. I encourage her to continue to seek help and asked her to ask God to guide her. One way or another she will see God. Its her suffering of this terrible disease that I seek God to give her some relief. I still believe in miracles and one day soon her suffering will end. Seek and you shall find, knock and He will answer.

  2. I feel a great deal of frustration in answering this prompt. While I care very deeply about helping aid the suffering of others and protecting this planet to the best of my ability, it strikes me as incredibly distressing that our country now has a leader who is NON compassionate and wants to make severe cuts in protecting our environment. I know I’m responsible for my actions and how I serve others, but shouldn’t our leaders set that example for others? There’s such a level of hypocrisy and greed which I don’t think God would want. When the leadership of this country does the opposite of helping those in need here and in other countries, it makes combatting that so much more difficult. The division in political philosophies has become so great that I fear it will be nearly impossible four our country to collectively serve others and reduce the constant harm we do to our planet.

  3. For me, this sometimes gets complicated and frustrating. I try to move through life leaving a small wake: I am not a big consumer, but when I do make purchases I try to buy from thrift shops or resale shops whenever possible, I ride my bike or walk whenever possible, wear my clothes until they are no longer wearable, I waste very little (food, paper, ink, energy, etc.), recycle everything that can be recycled, etc. But the process of knowing where, how, and by whom everything I use is made just seems overwhelming to me. Yet I am committed to doing my best.

  4. Thank you, Brother Jonathan for reminding us that we are often complicit in causing others to suffer. You mention considering who it is that makes our clothes, for example. In recent years I have brought back Into my life something that was commonplace when I was growing up – hanging washing outside to dry. The act of getting outside, considering the weather, being in nature, hearing the birds sing, feeling the air, the sun, the wind, reminds me of God’s wonderful creation. I like to slow the pace and many times I read the labels on the clothing that tell me where the garment was made. I give thanks for the garment workers of Honduras, El Salvador, China, Bangladaesh… In my Laundry. I have a picture of a young woman garment worker in Bangladesh. She looks so tired and hollow as she stares at the camera from behind her sewing machine. When that terrible fire happened I prayed for her and her coworkers many of whom died in the factory. I’ll never know if she survived. When I bring in the dried clothes, I find myself marveling at the power of the sun and the wind. It’s a small action of gratitude and a short meditation on being interconnected in God’s world but I pray that it makes a positive difference.

  5. Like Susan Marie I try to source things from charity shops, but sometimes I need to buy new.
    I have signed online petitions to various companies who have been exposed as paying staff less than is fair or importing from companies who do not treat their employees fairly overseas.
    We installed solar panels in an attempt to reduce our own energy consumption and follow campaigns which encourage businesses to become greener.
    With what we save from buying from charity shops we are able to donate towards other charities, and if we have surplus possessions we can always find a home through the Emmaus Community, Oxfam and the other charity shops, refugee charities, etc. Our own needs are often met by friends, so we are never often in need.
    Presently I am working my way through new pieces of fabric which, as a quilter, I have accumulated, and using appropriate pieces to make dresses for the charity “Little Dresses for Africa” and reusable sanitary wear for girls so that they won’t lose days at school.
    I am always open to other suggestions as there is always more need and I have a lot of joy in finding any way I can help.

  6. There is a gigantic pile, of plastic reputed to be the size of Texas, floating in the Pacific ocean. This plastic will never degrade. Sea creatures and fish swallow it and become ill and toxic. I have made efforts to reduce my consumption of plastic, such as carrying reusable bags and a metal water bottle, but it is very inconvenient and sometimes impossible to eliminate plastic completely. Nevertheless, I need to inconvenience myself more.

  7. In our EFM group, we’ve just finished reading a book about the Care of Creation. This reflection reminded me of that book, and of how easy it is to act in my own interests rather than those of the earth or others. I’m trying to live a more simple lifestyle and be more present with others. Sometimes I become impatient with the stresses of life, and I don’t take time out for others or myself. I can do better, and I will try to do so.

  8. I got ahead of myself and made our response and commitments in yesterday’s commentary. But I got a good idea from today’s reponses…….I will avoid plastic as much as possible and then only use plastics which are recyclable. I will also grow my new vegetable garden organically , while conserving water and I will give surpluses to the foodbank. Now to find something to do with soiled kitty litter!

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