Pope Francis and President Obama are transformative leaders whose life journeys have serendipitously converged on the world stage.
Pope Francis has called on us to care for the vulnerable with the urgency of a "field hospital." President Obama’s political career can be defined by the refrain, "we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper."
This Thursday, March 27th, they will meet for the first time.
We hope that Pope Francis and President Obama will be supported and guided by our collective prayers before, during, and after their meeting at the Vatican so that their service to the common good might create a more just and peaceful global community and preserve God’s Creation.
...Because they bear great burdens, particularly in addressing the needs of the poor and threats to peace.
...Because they have instilled hope throughout the world, yet know that they alone cannot be the masters of change but are dependent on the help of others as we all are. We are reminded that their hope is an extension of their faith and of the depth of their character and wisdom (1).
...We hope because the change they call for may seem naive, if not futile, to some. Yet, we reconcile their invocations of hope to the realm of the possible through faith and love, in the name of justice.
And we pray:
...That they continue to have the courage to use their God given gifts to raise hope, particularly for those in need, because hope is essential for change and sustains us.
...That their meeting may lead to improved conditions for the poor and vulnerable, may help create a more peaceful world, and may increase awareness of the environmental tribulations we face as a human family.
...We pray that we too may have the courage to help fulfill the hope they bring to us because it is not only their responsibility but also ours. As St. Augustine of Hippo said, “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
Let us hope and pray with them, for them.
(1) As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “We judge of man’s wisdom by his hope.”