The empty chair in the US Capitol during President Obama’s State of the Union Address last month served as a reminder of Gabby Gifford, the congress woman from Arizona, who was shot several days earlier in Tucson, of the six persons who were killed in this shooting, and of the twelve others who were wounded. The members of Congress sat together, not separated according to party affiliation.
“The tragedy in Tucson gave us pause,” the President said. “Amid all the noise and passion and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is part of something greater—something more consequential than party or political preference.”
What is this “something greater?” As humans, we have in common the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As Americans, we share the American dream, which has made it possible for so many people to “do big things.” In spite of the differences of race, faith and point of view “we are one people, share common hopes and a common creed.”
All human beings are created equal; and it was their Creator who has endowed them with unalienable rights, the Declaration of Independence points out. Christian values form the background of the United States Constitution, too. The Gospel must also guide our way of interpreting it, that is, respect for all human life from conception to natural death; solidarity with one another and especially also with the poor, the disadvantaged and the suffering; reconciliation and forgiveness; reliance on God’s providence; and sharing as a remedy against greed. Time and again, it is necessary for us to step back from our lives’ many activities and to prayerfully examine how we live according to these values. St. Benedict Center is a very good place for such reflection.
Seventy-five years have passed since we Missionary Benedictines arrived in Nebraska. This was our occasion to have short films made about Christ the King Priory with the Benedictine Mission House and about St. Benedict Center. You can watch them on our web site. - A beautiful celebration this summer on July 3 was the Solemn Monastic Profession of our Father Paul, at which our Abbot Michael from Germany presided. Fr. Paul continues to study Sociology at the University of Texas in Austin and wants to start his dissertation later this year.
In our administration area, you will notice some new faces. We are happy to have Joni Fichtl work with us as Group Coordinator and Jaimie Bohaboj-Blum and Jeannette Hollinrake as Hostesses.
I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!
Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB