Amid protests and boycotts over his attendance during the opening of two civil rights museums in Jackson, Mississippi last week, our US President Donald John Trump said, "Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man I have studied, watched, and admired for my entire life."
As God would have it, I read the account of the president's visit to the new museums — from Rome, Italy — where yours truly has been invited to attend the Catholic-inspired non-governmental organizations' (NGO) conference during this Christmas season.
In the midst of the stress, strife and distractions the world can cook up, especially during the holidays, the blessing of combing prayers, work and Christmas cheer is appropriate and indescribable. Meanwhile, President Trump’s words continue to be uplifting.
I’m considering this trip to Rome to be a Priests for Life working tour, one laced with holiday cheer. While here, I am remembering the words of Pope Francis, especially the section about the power of love to remain resilient, even in the face of trials. In his pastoral letter on the family, "Amoris Laetitia" the pope writes, "Here I think of the words of Martin Luther King who met every kind of trial and tribulation with fraternal love."
The pope also quotes at length my Uncle’s 1957 sermon given at Montgomery, Alabama's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in which my uncle, Dr. King said, "The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race [Acts 17:26 One Blood/One Human Race] that hates you most has some good in it."
Then Pope Francis expounded further on Dr. King's words, "And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every [person] and see deep down within [that human being] what religion calls 'the image of God,' you begin to love [people] in spite of [everything]," Dr. King continued.
Needless to say, Dr. King's message is relevant to the purpose and mission of my Christmas tour. A tour which spreads the message of the agape love of Jesus Christ and the sanctity of life — globally.
Photos and social media accounts of this journey are forthcoming on Priests for Life on the Frontlines.
Notwithstanding the jet lag, the journey continues to be amazing. Along with visits to the Vatican, and meeting leaders of the Christian world, there’s also time for sightseeing such as St. Peter’s Square, The Trevi Fountain and quaint sidewalk cafes.
An exceptional delight has been the fellowship with the people of the Italian community; such hospitality at every turn, regardless of ethnicity, religion and socio-economic conditions.
A special interview and visit to the home of EWTN's host of "Joan's Rome," Joan Lewis, has caused me to pause and make note of what I’m calling "GG’s (Gorgeous Grandma’s) Visit with Joan at her Home for the Holidays." I can only wish that you’d been able to join us for the warm and delicious coffee, cake, and historical perusing among Joan’s collection of beautiful memories — expressed in so many ways that lovely morning.
Since my blogs are usually filled with lectures, lessons, encouragement and prayers for concerns for the world, it’s a refreshing change of pace to share some joyful highlights.
However, there’s still some of the lecture mode going on during this journey as well. For instance, back home in America once again members of The Congressional Black Caucus and a few members of the "old guard 20th century civil rights movement" missed yet another opportunity to speak up for the civil rights of the unborn last Friday. They chose instead to boycott the opening of the two new civil rights museums in Mississippi. It is there President Trump visited to bless the historical site.
(Author’s Note: In a 1958 interview, MLK expressed his view that neither party was perfect, saying, "I don't think the Republican Party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic Party. They both have weaknesses ... And I'm not inextricably bound to either party.” MLK was never registered as Democrat or Republican. He was an Independent.)
Enough said about that for now; except that it’s all part of the "work" angle of my Rome mission; to bring awareness of the sanctity of life issues to light.
Meanwhile, God’s infinite love and mercy are allowing my heart to pray for you my beloved readers during this season, and to bring reconciliation to our broken communities.
As you join in by reading about my journaled Rome trek, and my soon to be released "King Truths," if you are hurting in any way, maybe from loss of a loved one or some other painful situation, may God’s grace and goodness touch you during your deepest moments and bring light, love and healing to you!
There’s more to come from Rome before we head for Home. Merry Christmas. Stay tuned. Ciao.
Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She is director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father's church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King — Click Here Now.
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