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 | Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS

Bishop Fabre: King put love into action for the greater good

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. We are given time to reflect on the lasting impact of Dr. King’s witness to equality, peace and human dignity.

Like him, we are called to act in the service of the common good to bring us together as one body, one spirit, in Christ.

Dr. King is remembered as the most prominent and effective leader of the civil rights movement, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. His life serves as an example of what great things can be done in cooperation with God’s unwavering plan of love.

King once wrote that Jesus did not seek to overcome evil with evil, but that he overcame evil with good. “Although crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love.” We know from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans that “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death … in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God” (8:2, 21).

Dr. King showed love to those who despised him. He put love into action for the greater good of all people. To love is to will the good of the other, and Dr. King desired the good of every person regardless of the color of their skin or status. He willed the good for our world to recognize the rights of every person made in the image and likeness of God, who “created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

Although, this day will never measure up to the impact of his legacy, our country must never forget Dr. King’s lasting contributions to freedom and equality. Following his courage, may we always respond with love and compassion to those who seek to divide us. Today, let us take an opportunity to pray for unity and to make concrete steps to promote a culture of love, hope and service.

In Christ's love,

Most Rev. Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS

Bishop of Charleston

This letter was originally sent out to all parishes in the Diocese of Charleston in January 2023.