Last night, Eureka College hosted Sr. Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking on which the Sean Penn / Susan Sarandon movie was based. This spitfire of a religious spoke for over an hour on the issue of social justice. She did a FANTASTIC job, using humor and her faith without ever once alienating.
Sr. Helen began by discussing how as a younger nun she did not get social justice. She called it a "misunderstanding of Jesus" - that she knew the Charity of Christ but not the justice. She also talked about how she had so spiritualized the Gospel that she wasn't putting her faith into action in many ways. When it came to the hungry she just thought, "Man does not live on bread alone..."
But through a series of events she came to understand Matthew 25 - the Judgement of the Nations: I was in prison and you visited me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was hunger and you gave me something to eat.
Throughout the night she would speak of the implacability of every person. And she said that we need to question any system that takes away the dignity of a person, whether that be a man on death row, a woman with Alzheimer's, a baby in the womb or a woman who doesn't know what to do but abort.
She spoke of the two arms of Christ, the one that gathers in the murderers, comforting and loving them, and the other that gathers in the mourning families of the victims.
Needless to say, it was a powerful talk, but the best part was how quietly and friendly she moved us.