Run for a Great Cause

London, Sunday, 7th April 2024

Before and after Mass I saw a charity run for the fight against cancer. People were running to raise funds for the advancement of cancer research. Obviously, the aim is to vanquish cancer. I saw different kinds of runners passing in front of me: young and old, men and women, from different origins. I was flabbergasted by the handicapped persons in their wheelchairs.

As I stood there watching, I had different thoughts. At first, I was a bit sceptical of public fundraising events. The power of manipulation of people is limitless. Secondly, I was wondering about the outcome and how the whole thing functions: running – money – research… However, I could not deny the cause: to overpower cancer.

 One thing was clear: people were running; they were moving for a cause. The cause is the end of something that is painful, something that gives death. There are two keywords here: movement and cause, movement for a cause. I keep on repeating to myself: run for a great cause, move for a great cause. The resurrection set the disciples in movement.

Cardinal Charles Lavigerie

I thought of our great man: Charles Lavigerie. He ran all over France to raise funds for the betterment of the life of Christians in the Middle East. He ran in Europe for the political end of the trade in human beings (Africans).

For which cause would Lavigerie run today? Lavigerie was a politician. Politics is about power, and power over people: to get power and to use it. Lavigerie got power and used it for a great cause: a religious cause (the evangelisation of Africans), a political cause (the Christians in the Middle East and the end of the trade in human beings).

How about us today?

The evils done to human beings are sophisticated. enslavement of (owning) human beings and the trade in (selling and buying) human beings continue in a very sophisticated manner. The pain is clear. The means are complex. The methods of fighting are refined. We sometimes feel powerless. There are thousands of groups, associations and institutions fighting human suffering. We network with them. We run with them.

 In the fight against human suffering, is it possible to be initiators today? Does prophetic mission imply innovation? Our prophetic mission means that we have a life-giving and life-changing “Word of God” to speak to the human person.

It seems to me that the only relevant contributions we could make in fighting evils are twofold: first, an original way or method of fighting evil from our missionary tradition and secondly, prevention. A lot is being done in terms of information, intervention, and care. Our mission inter-gentes which is essentially relational in nature, impels us to direct our minds, hearts, and hands towards prevention of evil treatment of human beings.

The driving thought of our fight against human suffering is the Word of God to Cain: sin (evil, disease, sexual abuse, enslavement) lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it (Genesis 4: 7). Maybe the best response to human suffering is to run because it is the sign of being fully alive. Please, run and run for a great cause!

By: Moussa Traore, M.Afr.