Wanted: Someone to inflame the romantic imagination of Christianity
From Ron Rolheiser
[We] need a new Francis of Assisi: We need someone, man or woman, who can re-inflame the romantic imagination of Christianity. Francis was a saint, but he was more than that. He was also a man of rare imagination. He was someone who, like a great artist, could reshape the collective imagination. What Francis was able to do, among other things of course, was to give to the world a new and a more attractive vision of how Christianity is connected to nature, how a life of simplicity itself can be an aesthetic, and how the altruism which lies at the heart of Jesus’ message can be more attractively imaged and lived. What he said, did, and founded became, almost instantly, something analogous to a great work of art, it drew people to itself and inflamed their imaginations. Hundreds of years later, it is still doing the same thing. But his images no longer fire the imagination as powerfully as they once did. We need a new Francis, a post-modern man or woman, who can again inflame the romantic imagination of world in the same way that Francis once did. This is badly needed in an age that all but militates against simplicity, altruism, and nature. In a time of morally-authorized greed, where celebrity is divinity, and where restlessness and grandiosity have been taken to new levels, in a world of high-rise living, some great artist must again show us that what we really want is to live simply, altruistically, and in harmony with nature.