If You CAN'T Remember, THINK!

(posted: November 1 2018)


I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all your doings,
the works of your hands, I ponder...
Show me the way in which I should walk,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143: 5, 8

A number of years ago, the Royal Canadian Legion used a slogan for Remembrance Day: IF YOU CAN’T REMEMBER, THINK! I thought it was a brilliant saying. In our country we have been blessed. Very few of us have actual experience with war and all it entails. This year, as we mark the 100th anniversary of the World War 1 armistice, perhaps we need to remember, or to think, about many things.

When it finally concluded, World War 1 was labelled ‘The War to End All Wars’. We all know how that worked out. War followed after war. Depending on the source, it is estimated that between 38 and 40 million people died in WW1, chemical weapons were introduced on a large scale, soldiers returning home caused an influenza pandemic unseen in history, families were crushed, poverty reined in many nations. And those were just a few things that The Great War gave us!

Why would we remember such terrible things? Can’t we just forget about tragedy and move on to a better time and place?

Unfortunately, I think the answer is NO. There is an adage ‘Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it’ that rings true. If we can’t or don’t remember the horror of war, we can be too eager to risk yet another conflict, more lives lost, more families suffering.

In the same way, if we cannot remember personal poverty, hunger, illness, incarceration or suffering of any kind, we risk turning a blind eye to these social ills and allowing them to continue in the midst of our prosperous lives.

Last week, I was in Peterborough for a day that consisted of outreach in the morning and a Spirituality workshop in the afternoon. A local Vincentian and I walked around the downtown, offering sandwiches we had made earlier to people who were on the streets. We took a shortcut through a food court where we were stopped by a man who was sitting with a cup of coffee and some food. He asked us who we were and we told him. He thanked us for doing this and told us that he had been on ODSP and was now OK, operating his own small business. He also told us that he tries to get to the area early in the mornings where he finds homeless individuals to chat with and for whom he buys coffee or a snack.

The man we met reached out to those in need because he remembered being poor. My Vincentian friend and I were doing it because we are called by God to think about and to act on poverty of all kinds. We cannot remember so we must think. It is our vocation.

May God bless us and those we serve,


Spirituality Corner

Monthly Reflections
by Denise Bondy, Chair
ONRC Spirituality Committee