Many, among the poorest on almost every continent, feel the impact of climate change profoundly and are struggling to survive. Economic, social and political turmoil wrecks havoc on people’s capacity to support themselves and their families. Rising temperatures are damaging ecosystems, pushing sea levels higher, and reducing people’s ability to support themselves. We already know that millions of people are forced to move from their homes because of natural disasters which are predicted to become more frequent and severe if the planet continues to heat up. The equality of all people, regardless of gender or race, is essential to the declaration of human rights. Yet it is abundantly clear that for ‘those already made poor’ these issues have a broader, deeper and more severe impact. Where is the ‘gospel of giving’ in all of this?
We know that during penal times in Ireland, Nano Nagle’s concern was not just for the provision of food for the hungry and addressing the day to day needs of those made poor (exemplified by her feeding fifty poor people on Christmas Day) but also for the provision of food for hungry ‘souls’. The Presentation Congregation was born from the:
“… free gift of one women of herself, to God and to people enslaved not only economically, but also socially, culturally and politically, came a family of women called to be freed by the Gospel to freedom for the gospel, not only in principle but in practice, throughout the five continents”. (p.172 – Nano Nagle and an Evolving Charism)*
The gospel of giving
“Then he told the people to sit down on the grass, and he took the five loaves and two fish, looked up into the sky and asked for God’s blessing upon the meal, then broke the loaves apart and gave them to the disciples to place before the people. And everyone ate until full! And when the scraps were picked up afterwards, there were twelve basket-fulls left over.”
He gave me one loaf
and told me to feed 5000.
I asked him how to do this
and still keep a portion for myself.
He said, ‘whoever speaks of keeping
has no concept of creation.’
From a void the earth was formed,
and from a trickle was drawn a flood.
The bread was broke and crowds were fed,
with enough to spare.
Everything costs us,
but that which is given,
like all generous gifts
expands beyond itself
to become more
than the sum of its parts.
There is no fear of lack
when we possess the smallest measure of yeast.
Creation asks for our collaboration,
the greatest feast.
~ Ana Lisa de Jong, Living Tree Poetry
To find out more about Nano Nagle visit: https://presentationsistersne.ie/nano-nagle-the-life-and-the-legacy/
*this quotation is from Part 3: ‘Church – ‘Home and School of Communion – Enriched by Presentation Charism’, Anne M. Codd, pbvm.