Mercy Monday: Reflections from Dr. King “On Being a Good Neighbor”
Today the U.S. celebrates the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The University has developed a week of offerings to engage our community in the work of Dr. King’s life and legacy and to advance the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, particularly anti-racism and non-violence. See the SALVEtoday post about it, and visit the week’s event page for information and registration for events.
As a part of this week’s events, the University community is invited to come and spend some time listening to select speeches and sermons by Dr. King playing in the sacred space of Our Lady of Mercy Chapel on Thursday, Jan. 21 from 2-4 p.m. A Vigil for Non-Violence sponsored by the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life will follow on Thursday at 5:30 pm outside McKillop Library.
Reflect here on Dr. King’s words from his sermon “On Being a Good Neighbor:”
“In our nation today, a mighty struggle is taking place…It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. The law cannot make an employer love me, but it can keep him from refusing to hire me because of the color of my skin. The habits if not the hearts of people have been and are being altered everyday by legislative acts, judicial and executive orders from the President…”
“But acknowledging this we must go on to admit that the ultimate solution to the race problem lies in the ability of men to be obedient to the unenforceable…Only by producing a nation committed to the inner law of love can this goal be attained. A vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws can bring an end to segregated public facilities which stand as barriers to a truly desegregated society, but it cannot bring an end to the blindness, fear, prejudice, pride and irrationality which stand as barriers to a truly integrated society…”
“No longer can we engage in the luxury of passing by on the other side. Such folly was once moral failure; today it can lead only lead to universal suicide. The alternative to a world of brotherhood to match its geographical neighborhood may well be a civilization plunged into an inferno more devastating than anything Dante could ever envision. We cannot long survive living spiritually apart in a world that is geographically one.”
“As you leave this place of worship my friends go out with the conviction that all men are brothers, tied in a single garment of destiny. In the final analysis I must not ignore the wounded man on life’s Jericho Road because he is a a part of me and I am a part of him. His agony diminishes me and his salvation enlarges me.”
For the full sermon “On Being a Good Neighbor,” go to this resource.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.
Featured photo by Getty Images/PORNCHAI SODA