Reverence for All Life

“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I undertake to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, scholar, and poet

by Judy Andreas

Have we lost our reverence for life? It often appears that way. And yet, I believe that deep within each of us lies a place that is too seldom visited; a place where hate, anger and self-indulgence are unwelcome; a place where compassion dwells.

The world is filled with anger, hatred and injustice. I hear the cries of people as they point their fingers at the assumed “culprits” and assure themselves that their rants are part of the solution. Sadly, I suspect that they are entirely missing the mark.

Ultimately, we are all responsible. Yes, all of us! Unless we assume that responsibility, nothing will change. We are the problem and we are the solution. To target “the other” is both the depth of unconsciousness and the height of dishonesty.

We must take a fearless examination of ourselves and our relationship with every living creature. How do we treat our fellow human beings? How do we react to people who appear different? How do we respond to people in need ?

Life is incredibly precious, and moment by moment it is slipping away. There is not a minute to waste. The time is now and it always has been and always will be… now. This is the time to put an end to the violence. This is the time to be truly alive.

When we are truly alive, everything we do or touch is a miracle. When we are truly alive, we can appreciate and honor the beauty of life. When we are truly alive, we will do everything in our power to protect life. ALL life.

Albert Schweitzer said, “If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.”

A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.