By this time of year our minds are often already in the next year. There are only a handful of working weeks before Australia slides into summer holiday mode, and a new liturgical year is about to begin too. All at once we are in a period of beginnings and endings. It is a time to take stock, to turn back to what is most important, and to move forward.
What a year it has been! For many there have been painful endings and letting go. Some have lost family and friends to COVID-19. Many more have lost jobs, businesses or colleagues as the pandemic has devastated our economy. We mourn aspects of our old life. Our sense of security, certainty or hope in the future may have been shaken.
The Office for Social Justice too has experienced painful endings.
Loss, limitation, and isolation have invited us all to consider anew who and what are really the most important in our lives. Many have found a new balance between family and community responsibilities and paid or unpaid work. While too many people have been left behind by support measures and face deprivation, others have learned to appreciate voluntary simplicity and to act with greater generosity.
When time, energy and resources are scarce we may need to let go of good things in order to be of greater service, to achieve a multiplier effect, or to focus on the greatest unmet needs. In the new year some of the good things previously done by the Office for Social Justice will not be brought into the future. Some things will be done differently. Early next year I will be seeking the views of readers of Social Justice Trends on the future shape of the work of the Office for Social Justice and on Social Justice Trends in particular.
During Advent we wait for the Christ event to burst into our world and at the same time we look for Jesus already actively at work in the heart of the world. We try to recognize Jesus and the Reign of God which he announced enfleshed among us, and we try to build up this Reign on earth as it is in heaven. Advent is a time for attentiveness and discernment both personally and communally. Where is God’s love calling us and how can we best respond in love? It is a question for each of us personally and for Catholic organisations like the Office for Social Justice. Let us pray for one another as we take stock, turn back to God, try to move forward by loving and serving God in the heart of the world.
Dr Sandie Cornish Social Justice Officer Office for Social Justice