We Cannot Sleep Peacefully

In perhaps ironic fashion, the text woke me from a deep sleep at 2:01 am the morning of August 17th:

We cannot sleep peacefully while babies are dying of hunger and the elderly are without medical assistance.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 17, 2013

pope francis we cannot sleep peacefully

It was Pope Francis, tweeting again in the middle of the night. I have my Twitter account set to text me when the Holy Father tweets. He has a tendency to do so in what equates to the early morning hours here in Fresno. Typically I wake up, read his tweet, whisper a quick prayer, and roll back over and go to sleep. I’m a disgustingly great sleeper who is interested in SnoreRX anti-snoring device review… I can fall asleep in less than a minute when I go to bed at night. I’ll choose sleep over just about any other luxury, including chocolate.

So imagine my reaction to this text, with these words. “We cannot sleep peacefully…”

Oh my.

Quite the wake up call.

I’ve been pondering Pope Francis’ tweet since then, trying to figure out how — for me — it is a personal call to action. This is not a call to drop an extra buck in the basket on Sunday at Mass and merrily go about my way. This is not a chance for me to think, “I give to Catholic causes xyz and abc…” and consider myself exempt.

It’s also not Pope Francis calling me to pack up my stuff, leave my family, jump on a plane, and go feed orphans half a world away.

We cannot sleep peacefully…

In fact, I don’t have to go looking very far to find babies who are hungry or elderly who are without medical assistance:

In 2012, the University of California, Los Angeles – Center for Health Policy Research identified that approximately 3.8 million individuals were food-insecure within California. The report also identified the San Joaquin Valley as having one of the highest rates of food insecurity within the state. Source

Ironically, this is happening in an agricultural area. There’s a great chance that some of the fruit in your refrigerator was grown in this Valley. Those planting, picking and processing all that food are among the underserved, the hungry, the medically untreated.

The good news is that there are structures in place to respond to many of those needs — but without my support and that of my neighbors, those structures remain understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed by the daunting tasks they are charged with accomplishing in our community.

We cannot sleep peacefully…

The past few nights, Pope Francis’ call has been ringing in my head, messing with my sleep. His tweet wasn’t a “direct message” to @LisaHendey, but this one is hard to shake off as “Well, that’s a nice tweet…”

So I’m pondering, praying about what my response can be. Not just on the hunger issue, but also on the equally as challenging crisis of how we treat (or ignore) our elderly. One baby step towards that solution might be if each of us simply took more time each day to actively love the elderly in our own lives: our family members, fellow parishioners, and retired priests and religious.

I’ve set myself a mental deadline for turning pondering into a plan of action for this particular challenge from Pope Francis. Until that action plan is in place, I think I’ll be sleeping a little less peacefully.

The grace in this situation is the manpower we can muster, the change that we can bring about when we each wake up, lift a tiny portion of the burden, and commit to action.

We cannot sleep peacefully…

Let’s do this.

A question for you: How are you personally responding to the Church’s call to serve those around you with dignity and love?

Copyright © 2013, Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.

Leave a Reply

next post: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

previous post: On the Non-Necessity of Man