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From a Spirituality of Caring, ‘Protect’ is part of the Global Mission

Author: Lidia Nieves Rojas, SSpS
Subject: Spirituality of Caring
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: VivatDeus.org
Year: 2023

Feeling “cared, listened, loved” is the foundation of the construction of the person and, therefore, the tripod that enables us to resurrect from all kinds of suffering and vulnerability.

Yes, we are called to take care of life starting with our attitudes, on occasions as self-righteous as those of Peter in the Cenacle. We must always be vigilant against abusive attitudes, because we have to take care of those who feel more vulnerable due to physical or emotional abandonment, the lack of support or the lack of listening… Being alert, preventing and building wisdom, is good advice as well as an unavoidable challenge in order to build an “evangelical lifestyle.

Those who suffer may not understand the word “synodality” but they will feel the presence of the brother or sister who walks with them. Perhaps they do not understand the word “fraternity” but they lift each other up whenever one stumbles. Perhaps they do not understand the meaning of the Greek word “gospel” but they strengthen hope with effective and humanizing solidarity. Those who are “victims” do not need words of compassion, resignation, assistance, evasive or moralizing spiritualism, but a heart that listens, actions that repair, justice that sanctions, continuous solidarity that accompanies.

There are many people who do not have the opportunity to give their opinion, say what they think, feel, suffer, or search, but they scream in silence, because all this give way to dreams. Sometimes, the victim herself, cannot hear the voice of her pain, because she has to hold on to the painkiller for survival. But the cry of silence is heard by Jesus Christ in each Gethsemane of our tears, anguish, impotence and in the full awareness of the power of love. The pain of girls and boys who manifest disorders, phobias, fears, delusions and transgressions cannot be silenced.

It’s time to listen and talk.
It is time to be transparent and welcoming.
It’s time to embrace and mend.
It is time to do what we must do, do good, do it well and do it with kindness…
It’s time for the stones and the silence to cry out….

… We take care of our assets and interests, but, how do we take care of ourselves and others?

And we would be naive, complicit or -perhaps- abusive if we did not recognize our own participation in this system of power and arrogance that degrades the dignity, identity and development of individuals and peoples. We have the evangelical mission of caring for the weak, against “those who abuse their authority” be they religious, economic, political, legal, academic, work, emotional, family, professional or any other kind. We are called to move from domination to service, from submission to donation, from aggressiveness to fraternity, from manipulation to liberating friendship, from abuse to care. Service is not only the actions that benefit others, but also the attitudes of those who dignify others and dedicate themselves to fraternity, justice and solidarity… moving beyond demands, retaliation or frequent resentments. Service makes us equal to others, especially those who most need to feel like persons and not like things to be exploited by the powerful who wish to gain more power, pleasure, money or prestige for themselves.

Undoubtedly, many of us have suffered some “type A” experience: Abandonment, Abuse, Aggression, Bitterness… and it has been difficult for us to enjoy “vitamin C”: Care, Affection, Understanding, Compassion… And perhaps we have had to lick our own wounds in solitude and disqualification, without the significant protective embrace of the other and of Jesus Christ. The other is perhaps busy with their own urgency for salvation and without time or energy to take care of-protect-comfort their neighbor who is mourning, crying out from the depths. We desperately need the vitamin C of the Crucified who shares our crosses; of the Christ who accompanies our sorrows and of the Comforter who vivifies, with his spirit, our lamentations.

The integral care of ourselves, of our affective contexts, of our common home cannot push aside the care of the most vulnerable and marginalized. It is a matter of personal-cosmic survival, and it is a matter of human-Christian identity. The neglect of our health and that of others (for example, in the pandemic, with hygienic measures or vaccinations…), the neglect of the world that hosts us (with floods, warming, pollution, agreements that ignore ecology…) , and the neglect of our utopias to live on, dragged down by the dust of resigned realism, are elements calling for reflection and reaction, in all dimensions and at every level.

… To what extent do we confuse carelessness with misappropriation, or care with narcissism?

If spirituality is to be born from the encounter and become a lifestyle, it is clear that we have to make self-care, the care of siblings and the little ones, a ‘vaccine’ against the virus of power. In a world marked by narcissism, we need self-care that guarantees our integral health, and love is the best antidote to the destructive moments that life throws at us.

All of us, at some point in life, have needed ‘vitamin’ people who have given us support and care, no matter how small the gesture may have been. Having a vitamin person, someone who supports you, gives you confidence, who listens to you, does not judge you and understands and loves you, can transform us into someone brave. Love helps us take risks that otherwise would never have happened. When we have that steady, strong love of friendship, we have better physical and psychological health as well.


Lidia Nieves Rojas, SSpS

Lidia Nieves Rojas is from Argentina. She belongs to the Missionary Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit. From her profession as a Psychologist, she currently works as a professional integrating the “Educational Guidance and Support Space” at the Instituto Superior Espíritu Santo, in Leandro N Alem, Misiones Argentina. In addition, she works as a tertiary level teacher at the same Institute. From her profession, she seeks to promote socio-emotional empowerment, both in the area of education and as an individual (freelance). Her passion is to help people recognize and manage their own strengths based on faith in God who is tenderness and mercy.

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