People can learn much from the homeless and their experience. These were Pope Francis’ words in a video message sent today to residents of the Caritas shelter in the diocese of Rome.
The residents will take part as actors in a play entitled “Se non fosse per te” (If it weren’t for you), which will take place in Rome’s “Bracaccio” theater. The play will recount the real life experiences of “abandon and marginalization.”
“This theatrical initiative speaks of the love for your children, parents, life, and for God,” the Pope said.
“I am happy to be among you this way, to be please by your courage, to tell you not to lose trust and hope. God loves us, He loves everyone!”
The Holy Father encouraged the residents, saying that their work in the play will leave those watching “marveled by the richness that is offered.”
“Who can ever think that a homeless person is one from whom to learn? Who thinks he can be a saint?”
“Poverty is the great teaching that Jesus has given us when he descended to the waters of the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. He did not do it for a need of penance, of conversion; He did it to place Himself in the midst of the people, the people in need of forgiveness, in the midst of us sinners, and to carry the weight of our sins.”
The Holy Father went on to say that the homeless are not a weight for the Church, but a richness in which the faithful can see the face of Christ.
Continuing his message, Pope Francis recalled a letter he received by the group shortly after his election. He confirmed the message he sent to them, saying that he carried them in his heart and asking them to pray for him.
The 78 year old Pontiff also thanked the volunteers who assist the homeless, expressing his desire that the Church in Rome “would manifest itself always more as an “attentive and careful mother towards the weak.”
Concluding his message, Pope Francis expressed his hope that he would meet them in person, as well as imparting his blessing.
“May the Lord help you to recognize Him in the face of the poor! May the Virgin Mary accompany you on this path! And to all of you I ask you please: do not forget to pray for me! Thank you,” he concluded.