March 29, 2012

Dorothy Day

On February 4th, President Barack Obama named Dorothy Day as a “great reformer in American history.” Day was a social activist who worked with the Catholic worker movement, a nonviolent, pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf.

And here’s a quote from our sister, Dorothy Day: “Our problems arise from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”

A few years back I (Cassie) read Day’s diaries which are titled The Duty of Delight. This proved to be a powerful read for me as I encountered the works and thoughts of this incredible woman who has done an enormous service for Christians and for all those who care about social justice, peace and compassion.

Dorothy says it much better than I, so here are a few quotes from her: 

  • “The only way to live in any true security is to live so close to the bottom 
that when you fall you do not have far to drop, you do not have much to lose.”
  • “The true atheist is the one who denies God’s image in the ‘least of these’.”
  • “We are not expecting Utopia here on this earth. But God meant things to be much easier than we have made them. A man has a natural right to food, clothing, and shelter… A family needs work as well as bread… We must keep repeating these things… Eternal life begins now.”
  • “I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.”
  • “Spend your life working on something that outlasts it.”

Today and everyday, may we live our lives in service to those around us.

Excerpts of this blog post were taken from Shane Claiborne in his blog post titled “Dorothy Day the Great Reformer?”

4 comments:

Shawna Lane said...

Love Dorothy Day!

min-bee said...

Do you as Christians really believe that the US has a "filthy, rotten system"? We have religious freedom of thought and the right to worship, unlike in the ommunist countries that Dorothy Day so admired--such as the one you are volunteering in. (The usual commitment for MCC is 2 years, right? Will you be returning to the US then? If the US system is so filthy and rotten, will you choose to remain in Nicaragua?)

Isn't it possible to perform the corporal works of mercy without indicting other countries? It seems that Mother Teresa--a true saint--managed to do so. BTW, President Obama, who endorses Day as a reformer, is doing his utmost to undermine the separation of church and state in the US. He is starting with an unpopular teaching of the Catholic Church to establish the vicious precedent that the government can determine whether religious denominations will be able to follow their own teachings. He prefers that they not be allowed to act according to their beliefs. So sad you seem unaware of the threat Obama makes while claiming to respect rights of conscience.

Anonymous said...

Min-bee,
I think you are too caught up in worship of country. Do you really doubt the teachings of Pope Leo XIII, who believed unbridled capitalism and communism were both errors? Do you also think Chesterton and Belloc were heretics? I would not want to have a Communist government, but I think the U.S.'s unbridled capitalism is a huge problem. I suppose you thought the bank bailouts were a great idea, Min-bee. You need to stop worshipping the United States. That is idolatry, Carol.

min-bee said...

Carol, you put words into my mouth that I haven't written and then attack me for what I have not said. What is filthy and rotten are the policies and practices in Communist countries that deprive people of their rights through execution and famine. Dorothy Day appeared unable to comprehend this and overlooked this violence when it was followed by "social reforms" she approved of. The Dalai Lama can attest to this destruction and persecution, and does so in his contributions to Stephen Taltey's recent "Escape from the Land of Snows." We do not live in a vacuum and I am grateful to live in the US rather than in such socialist "paradises" as Cuba or the Peoples' Republic of China. Please read "The Black Book of Communism," by Jean-Louis Panne et al(all four authors are Europeans) for documented information about such regimes.