12th–14th February is Chinese New Year and Losar, so there’s a second pportunity to make some important resolutions for the next 365days! If I may suggest a topic: “Kindness is ‘social nearness-ing.’ If medicine is the front line protecting our bodies, kindness is the front protecting our hearts and our souls.” — David Spangler.

On the occasion of the 31st WORLD DAY OF THE SICK (23/02/11), a Roman bishop sent out a message about the  fragility of hope, which calls for light and life-bringing touches of individual generosity. Not based on some agenda but on heartfelt awareness of another’s need, this message highlights the surprising ‘First World’ want of Caring Community Circles (“CCC”). Caring: animals care instinctively; humans care to do more than just survive. If they can overcome their fears[mfn]False Evidence Appearing Real, sucker[/mfn] humans can, practising vulnerability, be profitably intuitive, imaginative and intelligent — they can really live consciously.

My precis

of the message follows, with ‘translations’ of possibly contentious words in square brackets. The original is reproduced at the end.

“Illness is part of our human condition. Yet, if illness is experienced in isolation and abandonment, unaccompanied by care and compassion, it can become inhumane.

When we go on a journey with others, it is not unusual for someone to feel sick, to have to stop because of fatigue or of some mishap along the way. It is precisely in such moments that we see how we are walking together: whether we are truly companions on the journey, or merely individuals on the same path, looking after our own interests and leaving others to “make do”. For this reason, on the thirty-first World Day of the Sick, … I invite all of us to reflect on the fact that it is especially through the experience of vulnerability and illness that we can learn to walk together according to the style of God, which is closeness, compassion, and tenderness. …[vertical-spacer]

“It is no longer easy to distinguish the assaults on human life and dignity that arise from natural causes from those caused by injustice and violence. In fact, increasing levels of inequality and the prevailing interests of the few now affect every human environment to the extent that it is difficult to consider any experience as having solely “natural” causes. All suffering takes place in the context of a “culture” and its various contradictions. …

“… it is especially important to recognise the condition of loneliness and abandonment. This kind of cruelty can be overcome more easily than any other injustice, because – as the parable (of the Good Samaritan) tells us – it only takes a moment of our attention, of being moved to compassion within us, in order to eliminate it. Two travellers, considered pious and religious, see the wounded man, yet fail to stop. The third passer-by, however, a Samaritan, a scorned foreigner, is moved with compassion and takes care of that stranger on the road, treating him as a brother. In doing so, without even thinking about it, he makes a difference, he makes the world more fraternal.

Brothers and sisters, we are rarely prepared for illness. Oftentimes, we fail even to admit that we are getting older. Our vulnerability frightens us and the pervasive culture of efficiency pushes us to sweep it under the carpet, leaving no room for our human frailty. In this way, when evil bursts onto the scene and wounds us, we are left stunned. Moreover, others might abandon us at such times. Or, in our own moments of weakness, we may feel that we should abandon others in order to avoid becoming a burden. This is how loneliness sets in, and we can become poisoned by a bitter sense of injustice, as if God himself had abandoned us. Indeed, we may find it hard to remain at peace with the Lord when our relationship with others and with ourselves is damaged. It is crucial, then, even in the midst of illness, that the whole [community] measure herself against the Gospel example of the Good Samaritan, in order that she may become a true “field hospital”, for her mission is manifested in acts of care, particularly in the historical circumstances of our time. We are all fragile and vulnerable, and need that compassion which knows how to pause, approach, heal, and raise up. Thus, the plight of the sick is a call that cuts through indifference and slows the pace of those who go on their way as if they had no sisters and brothers. …

“… the conclusion of the parable of the Good Samaritan suggests how the exercise of fraternity, which began as a face-to-face encounter, can be expanded into organised care. The elements of the inn, the innkeeper, the money and the promise to remain informed of the situation (cf. Lk 10:34-35) all point to the commitment of healthcare and social workers, family members and volunteers, through whom good stands up in the face of evil every day, in every part of the world.

These past years of the pandemic have increased our sense of gratitude for those who work each day in the fields of healthcare and research. Yet it is not enough to emerge from such an immense collective tragedy simply by honouring heroes. Covid-19 has strained the great networks of expertise and solidarity, and has exposed the structural limits of existing public welfare systems.

Gratitude, then, needs to be matched by actively seeking, in every [neighbourhood], strategies and resources in order to guarantee each person’s fundamental right to basic and decent [care].

The Samaritan calls the innkeeper to “take care of him” (Lk 10:35). …

“It is not only what functions well or those who are productive that matter. Sick people, in fact, are at the centre of God’s people, and the [community] advances together with them as a sign of a humanity in which everyone is precious and no one should be discarded or left behind.”

The Park Ecovillage’s

CCC pilot programs are, as in other communities, in rising demand. ‘Support’ for the needy covers every imaginable care-thing from money to simply minutes&hours. The lack of guaranteed resources for the growing numbers of courageous people asking for help speaks to the importance of that need. What value people?

[one-half-first]“If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do […] HOW WOULD I BE? WHAT WOULD I DO?”— R. Buckminster Fuller[/one-half-first] [one-half]“We cannot individually comprehend the range, depth and detail of the consequences we are collectively generating for ourselves.”— Tom Atlee (2002)[/one-half][vertical-spacer]

So here’s a challenging culture question: do I envision my dream community to be a ‘wolf pack, army, machine, or family?’ If your answer isn’t ‘family’ then perhaps you tend to reinforce the defences of your ️sland in-community. What Findhorn Foundation workshop does that practice appear in? Individual actions, multiplied, create living community cultures. Our culture is therefore only as fruitful as the smallest number of people that we treat worse than we treat ourselves! How did heroes like Buddha, Mary, Kadija, Gandhi-ji, MLKing and Mother Theresa among others act vis-à-vis others in need? They did not what is right, but what is necessary to bring Light into their world — for both the needy and the not needy! These heroes[mfn] remember it’s only in hindsight that things are called heroic; at the time there’s mainly fear of how things will turn out…[/mfn], and billions of unsung others, have already succeeded in “manifesting Heaven on Earth” in their relationships. Now that’s a real manifestation challenge, if motivation were at all needed!

For information about the CCC at the Park Ecovillage and what it’s needs are to grow its vital service, simply accost — in a kind way f course — the brilliant ccc.coordinator or coordinator.assistant, one of the effective CCCTaskforce members, or one of the ccc.management committee (names at the bottom of the ccc.webpage) or PETboard when next you see them on the runway. More directly however, if you come across anyone with any need, take immediate CARE in action of that neighbour of yours; for doing so will give you all the info about the CCC that you could ever need.

Compassion is a synodal[mfn]’synod’ from the Greek συν [“together”] + ὁδός [“way”, “journey”], a term often used to describe the process of fraternal collaboration and discernment[/mfn] exercise in healing. No fake or egotistical healing ever restores anyone’s/anything’s health and wholeness, simply because ‘fake’ isn’t true love! Happy ❤️alentine’s in action.[vertical-spacer]

Complete letter by Pope Francis

All hands on deck is true C mmunity in action