Wondering what’s the best way to be in the midst of the people? Look to Mary. She’s the example to follow….
Pope Francis stressed this in a video-message he sent yesterday to the 6th Festival of Social Doctrine of the the Church in Verona, Italy, Nov. 24-27, 2016, with the theme ‘In Mezzo alla Gente’ (‘In the Midst of the People’).
To resolve the problems of the people, the Jesuit Pontiff suggested, we must start from the ground, get our hands dirty, be courageous, and to listen to others. But then, the Pope acknowledged, it is only natural for us to ask: ‘So how can one do this?’
“We can find the answer by looking to Mary,” Francis responded, noting, “she is a servant, humble and merciful, she journeys with us, she is concrete. She never takes centre stage but hers is a constant presence.”
“If we look to Her, we find the best way of being in the midst of the people. Looking to Her, we can all follow human paths without fear or prejudice, and with Her we can become capable of not excluding anyone. This is my hope for all of you.”
This year’s theme “In the midst of the people,” the Pope also noted, expresses the great truth : we are made to be with others. Francis noted how he reiterated this in the aftermath of his election as bishop of Rome.
If we are with all other people, whatever their situation, Francis said, our humanity is “greatly enriched.” However, isolation and not sharing, he said, “harms.”
“Isolation develops into fear and distrust, and prevents us from enjoying fraternity. It must be said that we run greater risks when we isolate ourselves than when we open ourselves up to others: the possibility of harming ourselves resides not in encounter but in narrow-mindedness and denial.”
The same is true, the Pope noted, when we take responsibility for another person, for instance, the sick, elderly, and poor. “When we take care of another person, we complicate our lives less than when we concentrate only on ourselves,” he said.
While elaborating on what ‘being in the midst of people’ really means, from various angles, he pointed out it “highlights the plurality of colours, cultures, races and religions,” and “does not only mean being open and encountering others, but also letting ourselves be encountered.”
Moreover, he stressed, it requires awareness that each one of us is part of a population.
“Real life is possible because it is not the sum of many individualities, but rather the articulation of many people who work together to constitute the common good.
“When the people are separated from those in command, when decisions are made by power and not by popular sharing, when those who command are more important than the people and decisions are made by the few, or anonymously, or always dictated by real or presumed emergencies, then social harmony is endangered, with serious consequences for the people: poverty increases, peace is jeopardised, money takes control and the people suffer.”
Therefore, he noted, being in the midst of the people is not only good for the life of individuals, but for all.
Pope Francis concluded, thanking the organizers and participants, and asking those present to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
English translation of video-message’s text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-video-message-to-festival-of-churchs-social-doctrine-in-verona/
On the NET:
To watch the Pope’s video-message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip25O-9ifMY&feature=youtu.be