Slowly read Matthew 5:2,13-16 on the call to be salt and light:
He began to teach them, saying: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
As “salt and light” we are called to speak truth with love and bear witness to God’s love in our world. Salt is both common across the world’s cultures and gives flavor to any food it touches. Our presence, like salt to food, enhances and strengthens our communities, especially where we can serve as witnesses of love and civility.
God of all life,
Help us to appreciate the great gift that is human life formed in your image, a reflection of your holiness.
Help us to recognize you in all whom you have created: children not yet born, families affected by poverty and war, people of different abilities, people from other lands, and all who are victims of hatred and racism.
Help us to bear witness to the dignity of all whom you have created, regardless of stage of life, or wealth, or ability, or color, or creed, for every person is fully equal in your loving eyes.
Share with us your holy knowledge that we are all your children, each bestowed with inherent dignity.
May your justice reign forever!
1. Where have I engaged or disengaged in the political process during this past election? What has drawn me towards or away from engagement?
2. What issues or injustices have I felt drawn to work on in my community? What stories from my community, from media or from my own experience have left an impression on me and led me to ask, “What can I do to change this?” Where have I been called to action?
3. When have I allowed my strong feelings about an issue or injustice cause me to say or think something unkind about another person? Specifically, on social media: When has my engagement with (or about) those with whom I disagree failed to recognize their dignity as persons created in the image of God?
4. In conversations, when was I so focused on winning an argument that I failed to genuinely listen? When was my choice of words uncharitable? When did I paint others in disrespectful ways or engage in personal attack?
5. In my day-to-day perceptions and attitudes, when have I made assumptions about or failed to give the benefit of the doubt to those with whom I disagree? When have I presumed others’ intentions or experiences before even hearing their stories or experiences? When have I valued my political affiliation or party more than my identity as a disciple of Christ who is called to model love and charity, even in civil discourse?
6. How is Christ calling me to strive to recognize the human dignity of someone with whom I disagree—even passionately?
Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: A Prayer for Civility
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where uncivil words prevail, show me how to model love.
Help me remember the God-given dignity of all and invite others to do the same.
Show me how to build bridges and not walls and see first what unites us rather than how we diverge.
Let me seek to understand before asking to be understood.
Give me a listening heart filled with empathy and compassion.
May I be clear in sharing my own position and respectful and civil in describing those of others.
Let me never tolerate hateful ideas.
May I invite all to charity and love.
Lord, help me to imitate your compassion and mercy.
Make me an instrument of your peace.