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Structures of Sin, Structures of Grace

light sculpture

The Soul Work of Dismantling Structures of Sin & Creating Structures of Grace

How can we make known the love of God in our world? The anger and fear in our society can’t be vanquished by more anger, not even by righteous rage. Our work for change needs to attend to structures of grace as much as structures of sin. There is a world of difference between being driven by anger or fear, and being called by love.

A Personal Journey

I first encountered the concept of structures of sin in the 1980s. It helped me to make sense of things. Into the 1990s I was concerned to identify and call out structures of sin, to try to extract myself from them, and to work actively towards dismantling them. Anger at injustice was at the heart of much of this action. By the mid 1990s I was convinced of the importance of proposing positive alternatives – we need structures of grace to replace those of sin. Then I began to understand that cooperating in creating structures of grace calls for different skills, attitudes, dispositions and capabilities than denouncing and pulling down structures of sin. It led me to quite different inner work, and different outer work too. Only love can build up structures of grace that give expression to the justice of God’s Reign. Read More »Structures of Sin, Structures of Grace

Cultivating a Culture of Peace

The United Nations has designated 21 September the International Day of Peace. In this CatholicCare reflection I look at ways in which we can cultivate a culture of peace.

How can We Cultivate a Culture of Peace?

Sometimes it seems that the whole world has gone crazy: passenger planes shot out of the sky; schools and hospitals shelled; people expelled from their home countries because of their religion; intentionally cruel policies towards people in need, including children. We can feel overwhelmed and helpless. We may be tempted to succumb to what Pope Francis has called a ‘culture of indifference’ -blocking out the pain of it all and avoiding any sense of responsibility to respond.Read More »Cultivating a Culture of Peace

The Holy Family in Exile – Icon of Refugees

cover of kit depicting the Holy Family in ExileThis is a reflection that I wrote for the Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office’s kit for Migrant & Refugee Sunday. You can download the whole kit here.

The Holy Family in Exile
If you were asked to paint an icon of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, how would you depict them in a symbol or image? The dominant images in the media have been of boats rather than people. When we have glimpsed the people in the boats, we have largely seen men on their own, not whole families. Our faith sources suggest quite a different icon or symbol. Read More »The Holy Family in Exile – Icon of Refugees

St Ignatius & Discernment

31 July is the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola. One of St Ignatius’ great contributions to the western spiritual tradition is his understanding of discernment. Ignatius believed that by paying attention to our interior movements of consolation and desolation we can align our hearts and wills more closely to… Read More »St Ignatius & Discernment

On Earth as it is in Heaven

[gview file=”[gview file=”https://social-spirituality.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/On-Earth-as-it-is-in-heaven-2.pptx”] In this keynote address for the Sydney Catholic Education Office’s Catholic Identity & Mission Conference, Sandie Cornish recalls how the mission of building up the Kingdom of God calls for the transformation of social relationships; examines three ways of understanding Catholic Social Teaching and the implications of… Read More »On Earth as it is in Heaven