The President of the United States gets many perks. Living in the White House. Smart folks to help. Air Force One. Camp David.
And he also has each morning should he wish it, the opportunity to review the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). Frankly, I think this is more a penalty than a perk. It is the report from the intelligence community about what the greatest threats against peace and stability are that particular day.
Although I’ve never seen one of these reports, it isn’t difficult to figure out the things that might be covered. There’s a 50 percent chance that goofy little guy in North Korean will launch a rocket. There’s a 10 percent chance the Indians and Pakistanis will lob grenades at each other at a mountain checkpoint. A plane will be shot down in Syria, a riot will break out in Baltimore, the Iranians are three steps closer to a nuclear bomb and a revolution could go live in Venezuela.
I have to think this report is pretty depressing reading, although there is the upliftinglikelihood that most of the awful things predicted the previous day didn’t happen.
Of course, the American president isn’t the only world leader who likely has sobering reading material over breakfast. Think about Pope Francis. Does he get a Papal Daily Brief (PDB)?
He isn’t worried about where to deploy his secret agents, armies, navies and bombs. He has a different sort of weapon: prayer. We’ve needed a lot of that weapon of late, as the year of natural disasters continues.
Imagine you are the Pope and you want to pray for people who are suffering. Where do you start – let alone finish? In 2017, we’ve had hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Mexico has experienced two horrible earthquakes. Around the world there have been floods, wildfires, mud slides and immigration tragedies. Add in war, terrorism and plagues and you figure the Pope has a pretty thick prayer book.
Pope Francis often issues a statement of solidarity for those suffering in some disaster. There have been so many that I wonder if he has standardized forms for hurricanes, typhoons, mud slides, earthquakes and general mayhem. Maybe he reads the morning news, then turns to an aide and says: “Monsignor, please get me two hurricane forms, one expression of sorrow over a kidnapping and a novena for the conversion of a mad dictator.
This isn’t to make light of a horrendous situation; the world needs prayer, fraternity, solidarity, mercy, peace and the love of Jesus Christ. You know the Pope is praying for these intentions each and every day.
I admit to sometimes having doubt about the power of my own prayers, a doubt I doubt the Pope has. But I think we all need to chip in with our prayers and help the Holy Father.
There is no limit to the prayers God can process. I’m going to add to the chorus.