Pope Says Disabled People Create Communities, Remind Us That No One Is Free of Limitations

Proposes 3 Values Lived by St. Lucy to Non-Confessional Association for Blind

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Pope Francis says that disabled people create communities and teach us to “welcome one another with one’s limitations, because we all have capacities, but we all have limitations!”

The Pope said this Saturday when he received in audience members of the National Council of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Handicapped, on the occasion of the feast of Saint Lucy.

In welcoming the non-confessional association, he said that their proposal to meet with him on St. Lucy’s feast did not go unnoticed, as it confirmed that the tradition of recognizing St. Lucy as patron of the blind “has a certain meaning.”

Lucy is a martyr from the early fourth century. Various legends are associated with devotion to her, including that the Emperor Diocletian put out her eyes as part of her torture. The legend, along with her name, which means light, has brought Lucy to be recognized as the patron of the visually impaired.

Pope Francis told the association members, “I would like to refer to some human values that the figure of Saint Lucy suggests to us. I stress: human values. Lucy lived them in an exemplary way thanks to her faith in Christ, but they are to be shared by all.”

He went on to speak first of her courage, saying all are in need of this value to face “the trials of life.” 

“In particular blind and visually handicapped persons are in need of it, so as not to be shut-in on themselves, not to assume a self-pitying attitude but, on the contrary, to open themselves to reality, to others, to society, to learn to know and to value the capacity that the Lord has placed in each one, truly in each one, with no one excluded! However, courage is needed for this, strength of mind,” he said.

The Pontiff also suggested that Lucy’s life proposes the value of community.

“You are an association, and this is a value! An association is not the sum of individuals; it is much more.”

The Holy Father said there is a decline today in associating with others.

“To form a group, to be in solidarity, to encounter one another, to share experiences, to put resources in common … all this is part of the civil patrimony of a people,” he said. “[…] The presence of disabled persons causes all to make a community, in fact, to be a community.”

Secret of happiness

As a third value, Pope Francis said Lucy teaches that life “is made to be given.”

“She lived this in the extreme form of martyrdom, however, the value of the gift of self is universal: it is the secret of true happiness,” he said. “Man is not fully realized in having or in doing; he is fulfilled in loving, that is, in giving himself.”

Living these values taught by St. Lucy even today means swimming against the current, the Holy Father acknowledged. 

“Today’s societies, which focus a lot on ‘individualist’ rights, risk forgetting the dimension of the community and that of the free gift of self to others,” he concluded. “Therefore, there is still need to struggle, with the example and the intercession of Saint Lucy! I hope you will do so with courage and with the joy of doing so together.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-visually-handicapped-on-feast-of-st-lucy

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