The wisdom of the greatest commandment in how to live our life is “you shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart and all your soul and you shall love your neighbour as yourself” Imagine a world where this principle would apply. These words are the core of all spirituality and are a summary of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes that are the guidelines for happy, caring, compassionate and generous living. All Christian churches and Religious Orders merely express different aspects of these core words about spirituality, some take the contemplative side of spirituality while others take justice and action as their message. In just two lines Jesus gave the recipe for a life of sharing, care, support and acceptance of how we should live and treat our fellow man and how we live and support those who live in our communities.
All Christian organisations espouse the teaching of these words that give hope for liberty, equality and love of our neighbour. It is essential to include spirituality and the social aspects of life to try and eradicate all the injustices that we see in our country every day. We see every day, in spite of being a Christian country so much inequality, hopelessness, violence, murders, the poor being made poorer, people feeling excluded in communities and the scourge of drugs and the abuse of alcohol. We have become a nation full of hypocrites, scarce in truthfulness and honesty, the powerful saying they care about the poor, while at the same time imposing welfare cuts and taxes that have huge implications on the lives of those on the margins and their children. To develop and practice spirituality one must become aware of their own values and actions in treating others with respect and dignity which forms the core of loving your neighbour.
We must all ask ourselves where we stand on justice and equality for our neighbours and friends and are we prepared to stand up and be counted when we see their living standards being plundered and diminished. Do we put need before greed? Do we put might and power before right? Do we try and put an end to the demeaning need for charity which just shows up the failure of how we treat out less well off neighbours and those who are sick or disabled? Do we continue to have an upstairs downstairs acceptance of how others must live or continue to accept a two tier society where the rich get richer and those on low incomes being asked to bear the burdens and mistakes of those who have failed to keep our country just and equal. Each and every one of us is responsible for our input into how we accept our attitude to the implementation of unfair burdens being placed on the vulnerable.
We must all look at members of our country who govern, those in jobs responsible for the distribution of our taxes, all the professions, big businesses, the Church and other mega wealthy people who are all part of this problem. All these people come from the top tier of society and have little understanding of the needs of those who are impoverished and downtrodden and appear not to care. Ghandi once said “there is enough in the world for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed”. All poverty is created by marginalisation and by ignoring the building of communities that are inclusive and caring. All decisions made by those in power either enhances or devalues the livelihood and incomes of our citizens and every year when the spending of taxes, being collected from people, come to be distributed, morality and fairness must be a top priority.
All morality and fairness in sharing the “spoils” is about economics, justice, equality and giving people essential needs to live a life that is dignified and have basic needs met. At every budget meeting are people who sit around a table who can change how those who are sick, disabled or on very low incomes get their share, if the will to act justly and fairly was there to balance their income to their needs. Poor and those who live in poverty are no asset to any country, so in the interests of all of society their needs should be met in an equitable way and allow them to live with enough for the basic things in life. In this way we could look at the words that Jesus spoke “love thy neighbour as thyself” If those making the financial decisions in our country would follow these inspirational words I doubt if people would be left homeless, without proper care, education or the wherewithal to survive with dignity.
As we face into the preparation of how the budget is about to be spent in the coming year, carved up and distributed to different departments would it be too much to ask those who have the power, the wisdom and the knowledge to act justly, to restrain their own remuneration, to have empathy with those needing a break from austerity and look after the needs of our most vulnerable in what is declared a Catholic country by 84% of our citizens. A Christian outlook would bring more peace, prosperity and justice for everybody if that were to be the outcome and we could all enjoy the benefits of living in a land where love and fairness is encouraged and practised.