To remember is to be deeply mindful

Of the past, present and future!

This article was published on Nov. 10, 2019.

Remembrance Sunday: Remembrance can be a powerful thing. The dictionary tells us that “remember” comes from the Old French word “remembrer”. This is turn, has its roots in the Latin word “rememorari”. The Latin word “memor” means “mindful” and the “re-“ at the front is used to express intensive force. So, to remember is to be deeply mindful and powerfully aware. Some people think that remembrance is passively gazing back. But that is only a part of it, a small part of it. To truly remember is not simply to look backwards, but to look forwards and also to be firmly rooted in the present moment. 

Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre Executive Director Michael Shapcott offered a homily at St Paul’s Cathedral in Kamloops on Remembrance Sunday. He noted: On this Remembrance Sunday, as we seek to be deeply mindful of our past, of injustices and wars, and as we seek to fulfill our faith commitment to a glorious future of peace and love, we hold up these three simple steps as part of a long line of history in our moral universe that will, indeed, bend towards justice. The three steps are drawn from the work of the Community of the Cross of Nails, the global reconciliation community based at Coventry Cathedral in England. The Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre was honoured to be welcomed into the community in June of 2018.

The mission that drives the Community of the Cross of Nails is based on three steps: First, heal the wounds of history. Looking back in history is not about simply recovering memories. There is trauma, there are wounds, there is hurt that has to be addressed and healed. Second, celebrate difference and diversity. Wars are an ultimate expression of the alienation amongst people. In a war, one group of people are literally described as the enemy. In much of our lives today, we are unduly divided by race, religion, gender, gender orientation, class, nationality or any number of other factors. A major step in the road towards an ideal future is to celebrate the dignity and worth of all people.  Third, build a culture of peace. Peace-making is not a passive process of avoiding violence. It is an active engagement with each other.

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