by Sr Arlyne Del Valle Casas
The call of God to do justice in a concrete way is very relevant
It makes me analyse, reflect, pray and act. Injustices and human rights violations are common in the Philippines. Supporting the rights of workers, migrants, farmers and advocates is not an easy task for a nun, but it is one of the things I am called to do in a world where fear and a thirst for peace are mingled. In my ministry, I have experienced situations where oppression and violence grow alongside the plight of so many groups for social justice and a dignified existence for all.
A world where fear and a thirst for peace are mingled
One of the most vivid stories I remember is a time we held a service for workers who were picketing for employment rights and wages that would enable them to meet their basic needs. After the service, mounted police conducted a violent dispersal. We tried to protect some workers while others ran in the hope of finding a safer place. It was a heartbreaking moment.
Standing on the margins and accompanying people
I remember praying hard during that time and trying to be as calm as I could as we went to the nearby police station to check for those workers who had been taken by the police. In that very instant I realised the importance of solidarity and networking in an effort to bring about a world where justice and peace embrace. I understood that pursuing justice and advocating for human rights means standing on the margins and accompanying people as they continue to struggle for justice, peace, equality, and a dignified life.
I believe the Word of God comes alive when it bridges the gap between the time it was written and the present day. For me, the God of justice, peace and love is the one who is in control of everything, even our socio-political situations. Through my work, I have come to know human rights advocates who long for justice and for a better understanding of God’s Word. For this reason, I am also involved in giving formation and retreats among groups who want to know more about how God can help them bring justice and love.