A year of messiness and mercy

For many of us 2021 has been a time of grief, turmoil, sorrow and discomfort. We have felt the storms of society and the catastrophes of climate change, suffering with those the world would rather ignore. Our bodies ache. We feel stress and anxiety. We are afraid and tired. All of us are hurting.

Even though we are exposing ourselves to pain, we radically live the Gospel of Jesus Christ because we continue to feel hope–and believe in love.

It’s messy work, but we remain faithful to the struggle that comes with bringing forth the kinship that Christ established. In a society sickened by individualism, competition, violence and greed we remain faithful to our belief that peace and justice are possible. No matter how tough it may be, we persist. We walk in solidarity and suffer alongside. We engage in countercultural actions: listening to lonely, welcoming the refugee, befriending the poor, visiting jails, serving the sick and dying, building community, bridging divides, feeding the hungry and sharing shelter. We choose peace over violence and simplicity over materialism. Through each act, we encounter Christ again and again. Through each act, we grow in holiness.

Yes, 2021 has been full of hardship. And this year has also contained Beauty, Truth and Mystery: names for the God we love. We’re together on this pilgrimage, a journey full of growth and groans.

Here’s a review of 2021 from our little corner of the internet, including our most popular and provocative offerings.

A poem in response to the January 6th storming of U.S. Capitol

From January, a podcast episode about reconciliation: a conversation with Sister Mumbi Kigutha

From February, a blog post by Sister Sarah Hennessey about an overlooked element of radical Gospel living: Listening

From March, a reflection by Greg Little about receptivity to God’s grace during the Lenten season

From March, a podcast episode about the Black Lives Matter movement and the Catholic Church, featuring Olga M. Segura.

From April, a prayer after the conviction of Derek Chavin for the murder of George Floyd.

Prayer of Mixed Emotions after the Conviction of Derek Chauvin was published here on April 21, 2021.

“Lord of Mixed Emotions, / thank you for knowing. / Thank you for knowing / where we hurt, what we fear, / what we dread, and what makes us sing.”

From May, a podcast episode about language, peacemaking and peacemaking featuring the poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama.

From June, a blog post by Kaya Oakes about how creative productivity can be soul-killing.

“When writing goes wrong: why our obsession with Creative productivity is soul-killing” by kaya Oakes was published here on June 17, 2021.

From June, a podcast about the Holy Spirit, Franciscan living and being in right relationship with theologian and author, Fr. Dan Horan OFM.

“Father Dan Horan: The Beautiful Mess of Personhood” Messy Jesus Business podcast episode aired on June 24, 2021.

From July, a reflection by the artist Annemarie Barrett about simple living and spiritual solutions to the coronavirus pandemic and culture crisis.

From August, a blog post by Sister Julia Walsh about spiritual flexibility during volatile times.

“Spiritual flexibility in times of abundance and VUCA” by Julia Walsh was published on August 12, 2021.

From September, a podcast episode about suffering, transformation and interfaith relationships with spiritual teacher Tessa Bielecki.

From October, a podcast episode about social action, nonviolent revolutionary resistance and Christian discipleship featuring community organizer Paul Engler.

Messy Jesus Business episode “Paul Engler: the mess calls for community” aired on October 14, 2021.

From November, a podcast episode about decolonization and discomfort featuring consultant and artist AnaYelsi Velasco-Sanchez.

From December, a blog post by Amy Nee-Walker about consumerism and the invitation of the Advent season.

“Something to Believe: How Advent Can Lead the Way” by Amy Nee-walker was published on December 2, 2021.

From December, a blog post about St. Francis of Assisi, love, Greccio and Christmas by Sister Sarah Hennessey.

“The Wild love of St. Francis” By Sister Sarah Hennessey was published on December 20, 2021.

Thanks for being with us on the journey, beloved community. We hope these offerings have helped you to know God’s mercy.

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