downloadable PDF: Women of Faith Resources May 2019
by Margaret Felice in A Book of Grace-filled Days
“O God, who breathed life into me, may I always use that breath to sing your praise for this singular gift.” (p. 159)
“Sometimes, we participate in God’s work merely by getting out of the way.” (p. 163)
“Too often we limit our vision of creativity to arts and crafts. But we also express ourselves in family life, letter writing, event planning, and countless other ways.” (p. 172)
Featured Day: May 21 – World Day for Cultural Diversity
This year, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) is observing the 18th World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Cultural diversity offers us richness, color, and dynamism. It favors learning about otherness and looking away from oneself to dialog and to recognize values revealed via each culture. This World Day was specifically adopted by UNESCO in 2001 to acknowledge the benefits of cultural pluralism and respect for cultural identities and traditions. Cultural diversity is part of the common heritage of humanity and can be a driving force for peace and prosperity. There is a need to protect the different forms of cultural expressions – languages, arts, crafts, and lifestyles – especially those of minority peoples, so that they are not eradicated by globalization.
Building our own identity by drawing on various cultural sources and developing our own heritage are the foundations of a peaceful and sustainable development of our society. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible.” With this imagery, Mahatma Gandhi was suggesting that culture is living and breathing, open to influences and dialogue, allowing us to adapt more peacefully to the changes in our world. UNESCO invites everyone on this day of celebrations to open their doors and windows to the life-giving winds of diversity!
We can explore online what activities are planned in the USA and in other countries the world over. For additional information:
Unesco World Report: Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue
USA Today: Kids and Parents Plead for Diversity in Children’s Books: 8 Great Titles that Deliver
Unesco: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
United Nations: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
Lectio Divina: Scripture and prayer for meditating
Read each selection a first time. What word or words call out to you? Read the selection a second time. Ask the words or words calling to you: “What is it you want to say to me today?”
Revelation 7:9-10 “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, were standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ ”
Galatians 3:28 “Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.”
Colossians 3:11 “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, fierce, unrefined, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”
Audio Divina: Music accompanied by images
Enjoy the following selections and let your heart and soul be touched by the music, the words, and the rhythm.
The Power Of The Dream: This is the World Day of Cultural Diversity theme song. Artist Céline Dion.
Highlights of World Culture Festival 2016: with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Watch segments of the World Culture Festival held in New Delhi, India, in 2016. The message of this gathering was unity in diversity, peace, and nonviolence. The goal was to bring out the best of cultures around the world.
For Spiritual Reading
Practicing Diversity: This article by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat offers two prayers, three thoughts to contemplate, and a Buddhist practice to honor the dignity of differences and pave the way to a genuine feeling of unity with others.
UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity: In November 2001, UNESCO issued the “Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity” (UDCD) to help preserve and promote cultural diversity worldwide. This document seeks to facilitate the recognition of cultural diversity, the awareness of the unity of humankind, and the development of intercultural exchanges.
God Is Diversity: by Richard Rohr, OFM: This article affirms that “the contemplative mind can see things in their oneness instead of emphasizing their distinctness.”
Visio Divina: Art for Prayer and Meditation
“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”
(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction. See also Abbey of the Arts.)
Let this image speak to you of the likenesses and differences in cultural diversity. In prayer, consider how oneness can hold up our world.
What does this woman say to your heart about cultural diversity? If you are bilingual or trilingual, what values of two or three cultures enabled your development? Or, impacted daily lived experiences?
© Azadeh Ramezani Tabrizi UNESCO
What do the colors and shapes in this artwork suggest about cultural diversity? Close your eyes and imagine how you could represent cultural diversity in art, photography, or music?
Featured websites on cultural diversity from around the world
Multiculturalism and Diversity: Scholastic Magazine provides lesson plans, activities, articles and resources to teach about and celebrate cultural diversity from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Diversity Around the World by Sunniva Heggertveit-Aoudia, Profiles in Diversity Journal: December 2, 2011. This journal offers interesting information and experiences about diversity in all cultures. For recent articles, see diversityjournal.com.