A Glimpse at Some of the Realities in Irish Society Today, Rosemary Barter ijs

Absence of Core Values

Some of the more negative aspects of  Irish society today are: the race for prosperity which  takes precedence over time-honoured values and traditions: religion, family, neighbourliness etc.  In the absence of core values, many, especially the young, are disorientated and misled.
We live in an increasingly secular society: Christainity and Christian institutions have greatly diminished within our country.
Money and possessions are perceived to confer status and power; money and image are often more important than people, values or excellence.

“New Citizens” of Ireland

The profile of the population has changed from a mono cultural and mono religious society to a very pluralist society.  This change has taken place in less then ten years.

While many are legitimate contributors to the economy, some are refugees and asylum seekers, some are irregular migrants who cannot earn a living legally.  Others, especially women, are illegally trafficked into the country.

Some Response

As we look at this snap-shot of the reality of Irish Society today – the following points surface:

  • There is a movement away from institutional religion but there is a thirst for spirituality.
  • We are called to journey alongside people who have a spiritual thirst for something that transcends cultures and religions,.
  • The needs of many young people are not being met by the institutional Church.
  • What is the Lord’s call to us Religious at this time and in this place?
  • Call to return to Christ – to a life of prayer and reflection – to re-centre ourselves in Christ, to recognise our powerlessness.
  • Place of bewilderment is also a place of growth and vision.  Think and step outside the box.
  • We cannot be creative if we refuse to be in confusion.  Change always starts wth confusion.  Great ideas appear in the space of not knowing, and the cloud of unknowing does not disappear.
  • We are challenged to  pass on the torch to others in a different form.
  • Shape another kind of future based on living Gospel Values – beyond our “own” spirituality.  Allow the Word to speak to us.
  • Today, there is a need for an authentic Religious Life.  Going against the culture of society – “Being” rather then “Doing” – witnessing by our life-style – simplicity- rooted in God.
  • Jesus remained strong and courageous in the face of the needs and injustices of His time.

In summary we are called:

  • To walk humbly with others in search for creative and concrete responses that promote the dignity of all people.  (Micah 6:8)
  • To allow ourselves to be challenged by others and welcome with humility the richness we encounter.
  • To be pilgrims on the journey, always ready to go forward and allow the “new” to emerge.
  • To be people of HOPE who radiate peace in a violent and fragmented world.

“BE PATIENT toward all that is unresolved in your heart…
Try to love the questions themselves…
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given
Because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,
Live along some distant day into the answers.”

                                                           Rainer Maria Rilke.

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