cropped-cropped-pope-francis-let-us-dream-web-1.jpegLET US DREAM

By Cliff Garvey

Our greatest power is not in the respect that others have for us,
but the service we can offer others. — Pope Francis

Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis’ friend and collaborator, says that Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future is “a vision for the post-Covid world, and guidance on how to get there by the world’s spiritual director (Via Twitter, 3-29-21).” If you read Let Us Dream from cover to cover and reflect on its richness and its surprisingly detailed plan for a better future, you may agree with the pope and sometimes you may disagree with him. You may even think that there’s a born politician or political philosopher hiding under the pope’s white cassock.

In fact, Let Us Dream is the product of a lifetime engaged in Ignatian prayer and spirituality. It is the product of the pope’s five decades of priestly ministry. It is the product of his outreach to the poor, the sick, and the left behind. It is the product of his sometimes unpleasant experiences with the powerful and the privileged, especially those special interests that lurk in the shadows of the Church. In the end, Pope Francis is a man of God, a man of the Church, a person of deepest faith, a person of profound prayer.

In Let Us Dream, Pope Francis calls us to see: to step back and look around, get the facts, and recognize what is happening in the world and to the world. The pope calls us to choose: to open our hearts and minds, discern the difference between fact and fiction, between the voice of God and the voices of darkness and division, and focus on the common good. And he calls us to act: to recover our common memories, unite around our core values, put people first in practical ways, and promote the dignity of every human life and the dignity of planet earth, our common home.

Pope Francis says: “Let yourself be pulled along, shaken up, challenged…When you feel the twitch, stop and pray. Read the Gospel, if you’re a Christian. Or just create a space inside of yourself to listen. Open yourself…decenter…transcend. And then act. Call up, go visit, offer your service. Say you don’t have a clue what they do, but maybe you can help. Say you’d like to be part of a different world, and you thought this might be a good place to start (page 137).” The pope wants us to see every person as our brother and sister. He wants us to come close to real people with real problems. Abuse. Addiction. Homelessness. Loneliness. Poverty. Sickness. The ongoing destruction of God’s creation. The ongoing destruction of our common home. He wants us to log-off, reach out, and get to work. He wants us to get our hands dirty. He wants us to join him in the vineyard of the Lord. He wants us to join in the healing of our sick and suffering world.

The Holy Father says: “Our greatest power is not the respect that others have for us, but the service we can offer others. In every action we carry out for the sake of others we lay the foundations of restoring the dignity of our peoples and communities, and in so doing allow us to better heal, care and share (page 127).” This is a time to see. This is a time to choose. This is a time to act. This is the time to heal. But first, in the spirit of dreaming about and working for a better world, we unite our hearts and voices in prayer.

In the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A Prayer by Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Lord, teach to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not count the cost,
to fight and not heed the wounds,
to toil and not seek for rest,
to labor and not ask for reward,
save that of knowing
that I do your will. Amen.

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew (5:1-10)

Seeing the multitudes,
Jesus went up onto the mountain.
When he sat down,
his disciples came to him.
He opened his mouth
and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called
the children of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted
for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Prayers of the Faithful

Lord Jesus Christ,
you are our merciful redeemer,
friend, and brother.
You accepted the Cross
out of love for all of us.
In faith and gratitude, we pray:

Christ Jesus, teach us
an unconditional love of God,
who loves us so much.
— Heal us, O Lord.

Christ Jesus, teach us
an unconditional love for each other
in a spirit of mercy and caring.
— Heal us, O Lord.

Christ Jesus, help us
to surrender ourselves
in service to God
and to our neighbor.
— Heal us, O Lord.

Christ Jesus, help us
to see, choose, and act
in solidarity with all people
with the common good
as our highest goal.
— Heal us, O Lord.

Christ Jesus, show us
how to heal the world
by growing closer to you,
closer to your Church,
and closer to each other.
— Heal us, O Lord.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…

A Prayer for a New Day
By Saint Philaret of Moscow

Lord, grant me the strength
to greet the coming day in peace.
Help me in everything
to rely on your holy will.
Show me your will
every hour of the day.

Bless my dealings with all people.
Teach me to treat those
who come to me throughout the day
with peace of soul,
and with the firm conviction
that it is your will
that governs all things.

Guide my thoughts and feelings
in everything I do and everything I say.
In unexpected events, let me not forget
that all have been sent by you.

Teach me to act wisely and firmly,
without embittering or embarrassing others.
Give me the physical strength
to bear the labors of this day.
Direct my will.
Teach me to pray.
Rather, let yourself pray in me.

Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.


Retreat Schedule

Learn More: Let Us Dream – Official Publisher Page

About the Presenter

Cliff Garvey is a co-founder of the Assisi Project. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Saint John Seminary College, and the Catholic University of America. Cliff is a writer, spiritual director, retreat leader, and university lecturer. He also serves as Associate Minister of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in Massachusetts where his ministry focuses on adult faith formation. Thank you for listening to Let Us Dream: A Virtual Retreat with Pope Francis. These audio recordings are produced by the Assisi Project, Inc. For more information about the Assisi Project: A Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit and our ministries for adults of all ages and backgrounds, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@assisiproject.com. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. May the Lord give you peace!

Art Credit: Robert Harding – Alamy Stock Photo


About Us

Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers throughout the world. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization. All are welcome to support our ministry via PayPal or AmazonSmile (links below); or by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. For more information about the Assisi Project and our upcoming opportunities for formation, prayer, and pilgrimage, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@assisiproject.com. May the Lord give you peace!

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