Loretto Reflects on MLK and His Message of Nonviolence: Creating the ‘Beloved Community’
I’ve been to the mountaintop. I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.Martin Luther King Jr. Autobiography. 1998
We will get to the mountaintop, we will get to the promised land, but only if we adopt Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of peace and nonviolence. It is an honor for the Loretto Community to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King. His example of nonviolence is our calling as well. We are called to “create a more just and peaceful world.” (I Am the Way, Loretto Constitutions, #40)
This week as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, we are reminded of his adherence to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. In 1955, Dr. King began his struggle to persuade the U.S. government to declare the policy of racial discrimination in the southern states unlawful. Racists responded with violence to Black people’s nonviolent initiatives and all those who supported their efforts. In memory of Dr. King and his legacy, we call on all Americans to work on the critical issues of today that still divide us.
Dr. King lived a life that daily demonstrated the courage of his convictions. The courage of ours must follow. To live a life of giving to others you need to be open to God’s presence in your own life. Dr. King believed in God’s grace. His was a journey of hope, a journey of shared humanity that encouraged him to open himself to all people and called him to proclaim peace at every chance. Dr. King called all people to be one. Loretto members profess this thought in mission, in community and in prayer.
As we find God in the faces of humanity, we open ourselves to the fullness of God’s presence. It takes a lifetime of work to find God in every person. Dr. King created a circle of empathy and compassion in reaching out to each person with true concern. Dr. King came to know Jesus’ teachings in study at great universities, but also in the inner cities, homeless shelters, in the meeting of children and grandchildren of slaves, at the poorest places on earth to places of racism and violence. He brought this learning to his preaching and ministry and challenges us to reach out to our brothers and sisters of every race and creed. Join with Loretto as we honor Dr. King’s legacy and “work for justice and act for peace because the Gospel urges us.”