Robert Ellsberg

 illustrated portrait of the famed Vietnamese Zen master draws on lessons rooted in a long friendship. It began in the 1960s when Jim accompanied Nhat Hanh on speaking tours in the U.S., trying to promote the cause of peace in his homeland. Through their encounters over many years we receive everyday lessons on “mindfulness,” peacemaking, and the dialogue between Buddha and Jesus.

            In The Pope and the Pandemic: Lessons in Leadership in a Time of Crisis Jesuit theologian A. E. Orobator reflects on the lessons of Pope Francis during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this time of crisis, as he demonstrates, the Pope’s characteristic compassion, concern for those on the margins, awareness of the relation between social inequity and spiritual disorder, and his vision of global solidarity, offered an invaluable model for responding to the needs of the moment while pointing a way forward.

            In this moment, we remember as well the lessons of another great peacemaker: Fr. Daniel Berrigan, the Jesuit priest and poet, who was born 100 years ago on May 9. (April 30 marked the fifth anniversary of his death.) A good place to meet him is in Jim Forest’s recent biography of Dan, At Play in the Lions’ Den  and in Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings, as well as The Berrigan Letters and his moving conversations with Thich Nhat Hanh, The Raft is Not the Shore.

            It might be said of all these spiritual guides, as Daniel Berrigan said of Dorothy Day: that they “lived as if the truth were true.”




Robert Ellsberg



P.S. Click the play button bellow to listen to my latest one-on-one interview with Fr. Orobator about The Pope and the Pandemic: Lessons in Leadership in a Time of Crisis.