Dear Friends,

As we build the Beloved Community, we pray for you every day that you might continue to bring it about in your little corner of the world.

Today's Meditation is the reflection by Joan Chittister about prophetic voices. She challenges us to think about how we can lift our voices and move our hands and feet when we see injustices that need to be addressed.

We invite you to join us as we commit

ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

Meditation: Joan Chittister: Prophet

Joan Chittister

In this engaging essay about prophets, Sister Joan writes, "... prophets are never mainstream." Read more here.

The prophetic task

Unfortunately, the vision of Jesus the Prophet has become quite domesticated over the centuries. As life got more comfortable from generation to generation, prophecy became reduced to Christian rituals, to public “witness” of our own private spiritual lives. We learned that the good life was about saying our prayers regularly.

As time went by, the spiritual path came to be more and more about us: our salvation, our public identity, our eternal rewards, our very special, very safe institutional ministries. Gone were the grubby and the outcast around us, gone were the forgotten or forsaken. These kind, we figured, should do it for themselves. After all, we had.

Yet the truth is that in every period, the prophetic task was the same: to interpret the present in light of the Word of God so that new worlds could be envisioned and new attitudes developed that would eventually make the world a better place.

The needs of God’s people today are no less pressing, no more acceptable today than they ever were before. Destitute immigrants languish on our borders begging for help. They risk their lives, their families, and even their children to live a decent and dignified life. In the United States, not one state in the union offers a two-bedroom apartment cheaply enough for families who earn a minimum wage to rent it. Which is why, of course, so many young families live in their cars these days waiting to hear a prophet’s cry in their behalf.

It is now our task, as individuals, as intentional groups, wherever we are on the social spectrum, to shine a light on their lives and to insist that others see it, too. It is the task of each of us to be their voice until they can be heard themselves. It is the individual prophet’s task, whatever we do and wherever we are, to point out their absence in society, their needs, the inequities they bear. It is our task to give them hope, to give them possibility, to help the outcasts to fit in.

But prophets are never mainstream. They hold a completely different vision of life than do most. In fact, they hold the rest of the vision of holiness, the part that seldom is taught in the same breath as charity or morality or good citizenship. They are the other half of Christianity, the forgotten half of the spirituality of the Christian world. They see what’s missing in the world around them and set out to see that the world supplies it for those who need it most. They value other ends in life than the ones toward which most of the world strains—for too much wealth, too much power, and too much distance from the dailiness of the daily.

The prophet in this day—facing a world where rugged individualism reigns and those who can’t make it on their own are easily forgotten—now must do more than simply serve. They must lead this world beyond its present divisions of race and gender, of national identity and economic class. Yes, the prophet is always out of step with the average response to pain or want or loss or oppression. They are always disturbingly different, always stirring up the consciousness of those left behind, always confronting a world that obstructs them, always on a path toward the Kingdom rather than the palace.

—from The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage (Penguin Random House), by Joan Chittister

What's New: August 14, 2023

New Kind of Life Audio Blog“The Resurrection of Jesus is not about revivification of an old life, it is about experiencing a new kind of life entirely. And no one knows how it happened, we only know that it happened,” Sister Joan says in her latest edition of her audio blog, Five Minutes with Joan Chittister. To listen to the full reflection, click here.

Monastic Way ZoomRegister now to join the FREE Zoom discussion of the August Monastic Way. Hosted by Sisters Anne McCarthy and Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, these monthly hour-long conversations are an opportunity to reflect on The Monastic Way with others in small groups. Click here to register for the session which will be held at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, August 29.

2024 Joan Chittister CalendarA new calendar will soon be available through the online store at Once again, the calendar will feature quotes from Joan Chittister illustrated by artist Anne Kernion. The theme of the 2024 calendar is joy. Expect to see these become available for sale in September.

DID YOU KNOW…?Joan Chittister can play the accordion, and used to regularly play at festive gatherings in the Erie Benedictine community to accompany singing and dancing.

LET’S DO JUSTICESeasons of Creation is an annual, global, ecumenical celebration that unites the world’s 2.6 billion Christians in prayer and action to protect Earth, our common home and to discern the guidance it offers us for bringing about the New Creation. The annual celebration takes place from September 1st, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The Season of Creation is a liturgical season dedicated to prayer, reflection, and celebration of God as Creator. This year’s theme is “Nonviolence / Just Peace.” The Catholic Liturgical resource for this year is now available online. Click here.

SOUL POINTSAugust 14: Maximilian Kolbe, OFM, died in Auschwitz on this date in 1941. Born in Poland in 1894, Kolbe became a Franciscan friar early in his life, and was involved in missionary work in Asia, even establishing monasteries in Japan and India. When World War II broke out, he was in Poland, and chose to remain in his monastery, where he organized a hospital and published religious texts, including ones critical of the Nazi Party. Arrested in February 1941, he spent several months in Auschwitz, where he was often beaten and subject to harassment. In the summer, after ten prisoners escaped the camp, guards chose ten other men to be starved to death. Kolbe heard one of the men crying out, “My wife! My children!” and volunteered to take his place. Kolbe endured two weeks of dehydration and starvation, and whenever the guards came to check on him, they found him in prayer. He died on August 14 and was canonized in 1982. The man whose life he saved was present at his canonization.

August 15: Today is the feast of the Assumption of Mary. “Mary of the Assumption teaches us to keep our eyes on the things of heaven; to free ourselves from the fetters of anything lesser; to develop a vision outside of ourselves; to allow ourselves to be lifted up beyond the petty and the transient to the eternal and unalloyed. Mary of the Assumption is a sign of what we can become if we are willing to let go of what we have planned for ourselves.”

—from In Pursuit of Peace: Praying the Rosary Through the Psalms by Joan Chittister

August 16: The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, said, “Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It's transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It's uplifting, it's encouraging, it's strengthening.” She died on this date in 2018. To listen to Franklin perform “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015, click here.

Compiled by Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, Anne McCarthy, and Benetvision Staff