Where I’m at: Arlington, VA (t-minus 10 days…probably)
What I’m doing: reminding the world of a great man and our great loss
Why I’m posting: a eulogy
One thing is almost certain: you’ve never heard of Bishop Samuel Ruiz. Even if you’re up on your Catholic Social Teaching, up on your social justice, up on your politics, up on your Latin American or even Mexican cultural history/present, you probably don’t know Bishop Ruiz. And it’s not your fault, but that’s a shame.
Bishop Ruiz was one of the great shining examples of peace in a world often marred by fighting, which is made all the more remarkable by his locale. Bishop Ruiz headed the diocese in San Cristobal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas, Mexico for the last 40 or so years. For those that don’t know Chiapas, it is a state of great beauty, strong indigenous heritage and tradition, and sometimes unspeakable injustice. Though I was not fortunate enough to meet Bishop Ruiz, I have been fortunate enough to spend some time in San Cristobal where his love and guidance touched everyone down to the last. The state is one that had been divided from within and discriminated against from the outside. Bishop Ruiz helped ease the tensions within through his mediative work, while serving as a peaceful guide to the remarkably peaceful and enduring revolution of the Zapatistas, who surely will miss him as greatly as the poor and discarded of Chiapas will.
But another way, Bishop Ruiz in a very real way faced the same threats and difficulties that Archbishop Romero did, though Bishop Ruiz had been fortunate to live out his entire natural, earthly life.
Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia passed away yesterday and will be missed by many. Though he will have strongly believed that his greatest reward has just begun, I sincerely hope that this world has just also just begun to look to him as an example. I encourage you to read more about Bishop Ruiz and remember and honor the shining example of peace that he set for us.
Who said it: The following is the poem “Ruiz,” which appears in my first book of poetry, “Chiapas: Memories and Histories,” available on Amazon.com
Why it’s relevant: a tribute to peace
What is a man in the world today?
Is he the one that stands insolently
What is a man to the world today?
Is he but dust in the wind
Blown every which way
Resting just long enough
To remind the world
Of his insignificance?
Does man charge restlessly, defiantly
At the windmill giants in the distance,
Daring to dream an unspeakable dream?
Does time rush through fields of men
Like dying dandelions, thrusting wayward souls skyward
Scattering unions, pollinating uncertainty?
Some men answer neigh.
These men – these men that are neither
Quixotes nor migrant seed –
Come to rest rarely
And always where least expected
And always where most needed
And always where least admired
And always where most desired.