"Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future" by Pope Francis

"Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future" by Pope Francis c.2020, Simon & Schuster $26.00 / $35.00 Canada 153 pages

The lock-downs this year have shown you things you never imagined.

You learned, for instance, that staying home isn’t one bit easy. You discovered where your patience ends, and you proved that you can be productive from your living room. Stay-at-home orders made you aware of what’s important and, as in the new book “Let Us Dream” by Pope Francis, you learned that you can be an instrument for change.

No doubt, and for awhile, we’ve been in crisis. Between a pandemic, a contentious election, economic woes, and scary world affairs, things haven’t been smooth but Pope Francis sees this “trial of life” as a way to “reveal your own heart: how solid it is, how merciful, how big or small.”

Crisis, he says, is “how we grow.” Think too small, and you’re not seeing nearly enough; think too hard, and “you can be paralyzed...” He believes that, to see crisis in the right way, you have to seek “the edges of existence.” That is where we see “the saints next door,” the people we should strive to be like.

The Supreme Pontiff believes that now “is a time for honest reflection.” We’ve been thinking that things were or would be fine but we have work to do, he says. Heartened by movements of change and by people who care for the least of us, he says there are three “steps” we must take to endure and to understand our place in the world as “children of God.”

First, he says, “allow yourself to be struck by what you see...” Take the veil from your eyes, look hard at the environment and at people. Second, choose “paths of the good that lead to the future” and recognize that which has value. Thirdly, “act concretely to heal and repair,” seek dialogue, and listen respectfully. Avoid “becoming trapped” by conflict and, perhaps most importantly, be patient with this process.

Read those last five words. Rome wasn’t built in a day and change won’t happen overnight, but “Let Us Dream” offers comfort while we work the plan.

That plan, however, isn’t laid out quite as clearly as you may want in such an impatient time. Like every good pontiff, Pope Francis seems to give his readers three-quarters of an answer and lets them figure out the rest themselves. This, therefore, isn’t an “If A, Then B” kind of book, but one that you’ll see differently than anyone else who reads it.

And yet, while His Holiness promotes individual actions, he points out in many of his stories and examples that one can become many for a better future. To that end, readers looking for guidance on melding the secular with the Godly and modern with Biblical will find what they need to absorb, soul-soothe, and “to restore the dignity of our peoples.”

Absolutely, this is a book for those who are tired. It’s for the hope-starved, as well as the hopeful. It’s a book for you now, so find “Let Us Dream” and be the change you’ve imagined.

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