Meeting with representatives of Care and Charity Centers. Photo: Vatican Media

Lisbon WYD (Day 3): How Is My Love? Concrete or Abstract? Pope Francis’ Simple but Profound Meditation in Lisbon

The Holy Father’s words during the meeting with Representatives of several Care and Charity Centers.

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(ZENIT News / Lisbon, 04.08.2023).- On Monday, August 4, after hearing the Confessions of a few WYD young people, Pope Francis met with Representatives of some Care and Charity Centers of the Serafina Parish Center, the Ajuda de Berço Family House and the Accrediting Association. 

After the opening hymn and the welcome of the Parish Priest and the Center’s Director, the presentations took place of the Serafina Parish Center, the Ajuda de Berço Family House and the Accrediting Association. The Holy Father spoke spontaneously, explaining publicly that  the  insufficiency of light precluded him from reading. “There are many things I would like to say to you now, but it happens that my “reflectors” aren’t working. And I can’t read well, and so I shall hand it to you so that you publish it afterwards, and I don’t force my eyes and read badly. That can’t be done.’

Then the Hoy Father paused on something that was not written in the address he couldn’t give and handed out to be read. 

I only want to pause now on something that isn’t written, but which is in the spirit of the meeting: that which is concrete. There is no abstract love; it doesn’t exist, Platonic love is in orbit, it’s not in reality. Concrete love, that which dirties its hands , and each one of us can ask: the love that I feel for all those here, do I feel it for others [as well]? Is it concrete or abstract? When I shake hands with a needy person, a sick person, a marginalized one, after shaking his/her hand do I do this immediately so that I don’t get infected”? Am I disgusted by poverty? — the poverty of others? Do I always look for a distilled life, the one that exists in my imagination, but doesn’t exist in reality? How many distilled, useless lives pass through life without leaving a trace, because their life has no weight!”

The Pope then said: 

“And here  we have a reality that leaves a trace, a reality of so many years, which is leaving a trace that inspires others. There couldn’t be a World Youth Day without taking this reality into account, because this too is youth, in the sense that you all generate new life continually. You with your conduct, with your commitment, soiling your hands by touching the reality and the misery of others, are generating inspiration, and generating life, and I thank you for that. I thank you with all my heart. Keep going and don’t get discouraged! And if you get discouraged, drink a cup of water and keep going forward. 

At the end of the meeting, the Pontiff went to the Apostolic Nunciature for a lunch with young people and the Patriarch of Lisbon. 

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