I'm slowly reading through Brennan Manning's very first book, Prophets and Lovers: In Search of the Holy Spirit. Like everything he wrote, it is wonderful. I heard him mention these questions in sermons on a number of occasions. Seeing them again this morning... well... they're as sobering as they ever were. In 1976, Brennan was asking:
- Have I missed the message of Chicago, Birmingham, and Detroit and failed to take the initiative in working for social justice?
- In reading the daily paper and seeing a black youth being torn at by a police dog, a black priest having Catholics refuse to receive Communion from him, wretched living conditions in ghettos, full grown men still unable to get jobs, and youth of every race and color wasting away from alcohol, sex and narcotics, have I ever felt real anguish for the misery of others?
- Have I had habitual contempt for others: less educated people, people of different national, racial or economic groups?
- Dismissed all old people as medieval ("My father is 10,000 years old," said a young co-ed) and never tried to make them feel their worth as persons and their dignity as members of the human community?
- In any way stifled the personal development of another?
- Sought to be respected without respecting others?
- Often kept others waiting?
- Forgotten or not kept a date?
- Been difficult for others to reach or too busy to put myself at their disposal?
- Not paid attention to the person speaking to me?
- Refused to become involved in the troubles of others and dismissed them with a pat reassurance, "Don't worry. It will work out."?
- Kept silent out of human respect when different personalities were pulverized? ("We do not have the right to be silent watchdogs and silent sentinels," wrote DeFoucauld, "We must cry out when we see evil being done").
- Seen only those whose friendship might prove profitable?
- Blackened the character of anyone by harmful remarks (false or true)?
- Betrayed a trust, violated a confidence or involved myself in others' affairs through indiscreet words and actions?
Manning, Prophets and Lovers: In Search of the Holy Spirit, pp. 54-55.