“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement, and at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” – Marie Curie
When I was a child my mother taught me that we are all brothers and sisters – regardless of where we are born, the color of our skin, our religion or creed – we are all human and responsible for one another. Our words and actions affect others, whether those words are spoken at home, in the work place, or anywhere in public. Whether our actions are at home, or somewhere else. They make an impact. Are we acting or speaking in light of the dictates of our faith or beliefs? Where is our God in all of this?
I see images every day of the torment and pain people all over the world are facing daily. Whether here at home in small indigenous communities or on the streets of Syria on the other side of the world. People are suffering. Where are our leaders? Where are the champions of the poor and destitute; the tortured and wrongfully imprisoned? When did we become blind to the injustices, deaf to the pleas for help?
The daily reminders can make us hard of heart, or put up walls in self-defence. Unable to make a difference in a world that has too many problems it is easy to cave in to feelings of defeat and hopelessness.
Perhaps we cannot change the world. But we can make a difference in the ways we speak to others, in the way we treat others in our day-to-day lives. We can pray. We can donate to the charities of our choice. There are things we can do, choices we can make. Choices that may make a difference. To do nothing is to deny we are all human and all in need – in one way or another.
“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” – Helen Keller
“In the last analysis, the individual is responsible for living his own life and for “finding himself.” If he persists in shifting his responsibility to someone else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.” – Thomas Merton
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan