Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lest we become "caretakers of ash" ...

Ever since getting back to San Francisco, I've been fighting an aggressive rhinovirus -- perhaps a little token from my 11 hour Lufthansa flight?

And consequently, I haven't been paying the sort of attention I might have in a less delirious state to Pope Francis' pronouncements in this country. Maybe I'll find time to read more of them -- maybe not.

But I was struck by these tidbits from his address to the American Roman Catholic bishops assembled in Washington at the beginning of his trip.

"Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies of visiting the marketplace, even at the eleventh hour, to propose his offer of love," said the pope.

... "We fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us," said Francis.

... "It becomes even more urgent to grow in the certainty that the embers of [Jesus'] presence, kindled in the fire of his passion, precede us and will never die out," said Francis. "Whenever this certainty weakens, we end up being caretakers of ash, and not guardians and dispensers of the true light and the warmth that causes our hearts to burn within us."

This goes for all who struggle for peace and justice, whether we live within Francis' paradigm or within some other vision. It is so easy to loose the animating love that inspires us and become mere "caretakers of ash."

The photo is one I grabbed last May, showing the pope meeting the very gracious primate of the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden, archbishop Antje Jackelén. Those Lutherans, still ahead of the curve ...

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