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The other day when there was a community justice meeting. When people were talking about responding to trauma a quote from Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, kept coming to mind. It is here: “Our purpose should be to build a society where it is easier for people to be good” Instead of responding to trauma how about building a society with less trauma.

In searching for this quote I came across many more good quotes from Peter Maurin. Here are a few with comments. The first one speaks for itself.

“The world would be better off if people tried to become better, And people would become better if they stopped trying to be better off. For when everyone tries to become better off nobody is better off. But when everyone tries to become better everyone is better off. Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.”

If you have ever been called crazy as I have you will appreciate this quote.
“If we are crazy, then it is because we refuse to be crazy in the same way that the world has gone crazy.”

This one hits home to we Christians who look to government, Church, Social Agencies to do the works of mercy.

The first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice… And the pagans used to say about the Christians, “See how they love each other.” In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. And because of this the pagans say about the Christians, “See how they pass the buck.”

Finally Peter Maurin was famous for his “Essay Essays”. Here is one of my favorites.

Blowing the Dynamite

Writing about the Catholic Church,
a radical writer says:
“Rome will have to do more
than to play a waiting game;
she will have to use
some of the dynamite
inherent in her message.”

To blow the dynamite
of a message
is the only way
to make the message dynamic.

If the Catholic Church
is not today
the dominant social dynamic force,
it is because Catholic scholars
have failed to blow the dynamite
of the Church.

Catholic scholars
have taken the dynamite
of the Church,
have wrapped it up
in nice phraseology,
placed it in an hermetic container
and sat on the lid.

It is about time
to blow the lid off
so the Catholic Church
may again become
the dominant social dynamic force.

For more Easy Essays by Peter Maurin see Easy Essays by Peter Maurin


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