Little by Little the Dawn Breaks! Human Child! What do You See?
Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future: Part One
Friar Charles McCarthy offers some ideas for discussion about Pope Francis’ book, Let Us Dream.
“In the night you see nothing, but little by little dawn breaks and you see the day. That was my process: serene and calm, through information I gradually became aware of, until I became convinced of the seriousness of the thing. In sharing concerns, we [begin] to see horizons and limits.” p.31
There is a phrase in Jeremiah and Ezekiel that could be a refrain for a prophetic song, or a good question for a study guide about visioning a need. “Son of Man [Human Child]! What do you see?” Pope Francis, in his brief book, Let Us Dream, calls us first, before we go anywhere or do anything, to see the reality where we live. In Part One, Francis, as our teacher, confesses his own blindness to certain issues in his life. He also offers his own path to conversion of sight (Amazonia p. 31), conversion of perspective (Aparecida p. 30), conversion through listening (p. 42-43), conversion to companioning (Patriarch Bartholomew p. 31, Saul/Paul p. 36).
Francis, the pilgrim of hearts, perceives the COVID crisis as a moment to take stock — in the reality of the world in which we live, and in the pattern of our societies’ status quo. He calls out the sinners in the scriptures who are known to us as saints (David, Solomon, Samson, Paul, p. 36 ff) because of their greatness in living their Faith. But each one suffered the darkness before dawn’s waking. Francis, the observant one, calls us to be aware of: 1) the lack of internal freedoms, 2) the idols we keep, 3) serving ideology over values, and 4) neglecting relational humanity. To know how to come out of the Pandemic of COVID’s effects on our lives, we need to also see the Pandemic of Individualism for what it is: “self-indulgent living [which] brings sterility.” (p. 38)
The finger which Francis, the spiritual director, uses to point to the need for change goes to his own heart. Before calling us out, our world economic and ecological structures, Francis, the inviter, mirrors himself in his “COVIDs” and the roads he walked toward conversion of sight, and of perception, so as to enter the conversion of understanding (standing under the one he found to be offensive or at issue). “I don’t understand! How can ‘they’ think that way?” And so, he asks, he listens, he digs beyond the wall of ideology and dis-integration to be in dialogue.
The process Pope Francis invites us to in this book, is harmonious with and echoes Joseph Cardinal Bernardine’s teaching on Catholic Social Teaching: A Consistent Ethic of Life. We cannot move forward to healing societal ills until we find “common ground” with those with whom we disagree, live the discoveries which are only possible in dialogue, thus coming to recognize that Life is a “seamless garment.”
Come join Francis, bishop of Rome, on the pilgrimage of Conversion to a Dream of wholeness for Creation – earth and sky, flora and fauna, water and air, minerals and energy and, oh yes, human. Respond each day to the prophetic refrain: “Human Child! What will I See today?” Dig deep!
Friar Charles McCarthy is working with other First Order Franciscans in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ron Walters OFM, Minister Provincial of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, and his definitory, have asked Fr. Charles to pastor at two of the ancient Pueblos in New Mexico: Pueblo of Acoma’s San Esteban Parish (1629) and two dependent Missions; as well as Laguna Pueblo’s St. Joseph Parish (1699) and its 6 village churches.