A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, April 01, 2005 :::
Two striking images from this morning. One, the Pope at a recent ceremony, where small children "assisted" him in releasing doves from his apartment window. They didn't assist. As he could hardly move, they did it, and, as they were very small, they didn't. One bird eventually took off, but the other two merely found their way to the edge of the broad window sill and sort of looked around, reminding one and all that doves are beautiful but not very smart. Even what little happened only came about after much pointless flapping of wings, which disturbed the little boy by the Pope's right hand, who started shooing his bird away. And the Pope? His face broke out in a huge smile.

The other image was not so striking except in contrast: wonks on their way to work, some of them to do a lot of good, some to do ill, and some to do not much at all, which is the point. To someone who came to Washington in the wake of the Reagan Revolution believing great good could come from Washington, only to see many good intentions sputter into irrelevance, it now seems that some political action can be done better than others, but hope does not lie in politics. One of the last major statements this Pope made was to remind everyone of the importance of politics, sternly cautioning us against thinking it is irrelevant.

But he also helped this pilgrim see that it was not the ultimate aim of life, however much good it may do in the short term, and however important that short term is. That is one of many things for which I am grateful on this bright sunny morning in Washington.

John Paul II is not leaving us a safer world, in the sense that most people mean that. Personally, I feel the world is much less safe than it was in 1978. As he saw all to clearly, we may well be headed into one of the grimmest eras in the grim history of humanity. But he taught us to hope, and it is for that, above all, that we should be grateful.

And we should be grateful that his work here on Earth is not done. He loved St. Terese of Lisieux, who was hurried on her way to heaven by the will of God. When he elevated her to the status of Doctor of the Church, he cited her words, which should be a comfort to us all: she hoped to spend her eternity doing good on Earth.

Which is a blessed thought, because the overwhelming feeling this morning, with all eyes turned toward Rome, is that the world is about to become much lonelier.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 8:32 AM



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