Casa Santa Marta, September 24, 2020

Mr. Robert Ellsberg

Publisher

Orbis Books

Dear Brother,

Thank you for the letter and the books that you sent me, as well as for all the efforts you make to sow, even “against wind and tides,” a culture based on fraternity. I join in thanksgiving for these first 50 years of the journey with the confidence that our Father who sees even what is done in secret will reward you (Mt 6:6).

It is comforting and hopeful to know that among your editorial priorities you do not seek to promote only scattered, trending or interesting topics for release, but that you want to offer a true horizon of meaning toward which to move; a vital horizon in these pandemic times in which we are able to note, more clearly, some of the wrongs that have already affected us for so long. We never come out of any crisis the same: either we come out better or worse, but never the same; and that will depend, to a large extent, on our capacity to cultivate—especially in the younger generations—an imagination that would help them believe that another way of writing history is possible. We need to recover memory and give voice to those who made our history great, a history that is glorious because it was forged in sacrifices, in daily struggles, in the lives given that believed in the dream of God. How good it made me feel to remember the Servant of God Dorothy Day who found in the Gospels and in the lives of the saints the source of inspiration that marked all her life and mission.

I believe that reading, in that sense, can have a powerful role and become a compass that points the way, guides and allows us to cultivate a spirit capable of moving toward great goals that embrace the good that awaits us all. In this sense, I encourage you to continue your work in that difficult but important and delicate task of creating accompanying volumes that give flight to the spirit and help reach the places where new narratives and paradigms are being formed (Evangelii Gaudium 74). The health of a culture is also measured by its capacity to pool its best resources and awaken the best talents to create networks of solidarity that allow us creatively to build new alternatives to what affects us today.

I thank you again for your kindness and work and I assure you of my prayer for you and your family, that the Lord may bless you and the Holy Virgin take care of you, and please, do not forget to pray for me.

Fraternally, Francisco