Magis Moments: Community in Crisis

Recently we have seen and experienced crises across America.  Although we know life doesn’t come without afflictions and troubles, it feels like ‘its just one thing after another.’  As an alumnus and staff of Loyola University, I’m challenged by the crises we have currently experienced.  I’ve always been taught to feel deeper and look further. With the recent Hurricane Harvey, disaster has struck the Texas coast.  Now the question is, how will we respond in this crisis?

One of my favorite ideals of Jesuit education is being a man and woman with and for others.  Although it’s a common Jesuit phrase, its meaning is very important.  Not only am I for you, but I am with you.  It reminds me of the scripture in Romans 12:15 “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  The response after Harvey from our Loyola community and local friends to help has been overwhelming, and it showed me we are closer than ever.  We are called to work together.  If you asked around Loyola, one of the greatest gifts is our community.  There is a duty and responsibility we choose to carry.  We work and serve collectively toward a common goal.  I believe we grow not because of the work involved in crisis, but in the community we rebuild with.

Sometimes comfort is found most in crisis.  One of my testimonies is the birth of my son Roosevelt.  He was born at twenty-five weeks, and doctors didn’t believe that he would make it or would even be strong enough to survive outside of the womb that early on his own.  Many people began to pray, and sent me letters and notes, and gifts to encourage me as my wife was on bedrest since her nineteenth week when her water broke.  The community really encouraged and supported me during those long months in my personal crisis.  To see where my son is now, healthy and strong, is a testament of my faith in Jesus Christ and the community that helped me get through it.  There is a strength that rises up when others are supporting and believing too.  It’s healthy to be connected to a community that will not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.  

In the wake of Charlottesville riots, our community stood to protest against the white power and neo-nazi movement.  We have responded that change is mandatory, not just needed.  We have hired a new Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Sybol Anderson, and as a university community, have taken the stance that racism has no place on our campus.  Loyola has trained many on campus to begin the process of transforming our university into an antiracist multicultural institution.  It is not only the campus community, but our great base of alumni as well.  What’s most important about community, is not that everyone looks and sounds like you.  What is important is that we can all come together, to do the work that needs to be done.  Community will help you speak louder, and stand longer.  Our voice is heard with the community behind us.  

Life always has a way of getting our attention with crises.  There is hope and promise in the end, not tragedy nor despair.   At the end of the crisis, we will be transformed and change our world.  Find your community, build it, and most importantly give to it.  When your crisis comes, remember God is there, and your community of family and friends are standing in your corner.  

I challenge you to be the man and woman with and for others.

Eric Walsh
Assistant to University Chaplain
Life Church West – Campus Pastor

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