“Prayer, poor and peace: this is the talent of the Community, which has matured over fifty years,” Pope Francis said on on March 11, 2018, when he visited Rome’s Community of Sant’Egidio to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the charitable lay association.
The Holy Father, speaking at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, said “I wish to embrace all your communities scattered around the world…The Word of God has protected you in the past from the temptations of ideology, and today it delivers you from the intimidation of fear.”
The Pope talked of the fear that inhabits the world today, calling it “an ancient disease.” And he noted that the admonition “not to be afraid” appears often in the Bible.
“Our time experiences great fear as it faces the vast dimensions of globalization. And fear often turns against people who are foreign, different, poor, as if they were enemies.,” Francis said. “So then we defend ourselves from these people, and we believe we are preserving what we have and what we are. The atmosphere of fear can infect also those Christians who hide the gift they have received, like the slave in the parable: they do not invest it in the future, they do not share it with others, they preserve it for themselves.”
The Holy Father said the Community of Sant’Egidio has “benefited from the great impulse to community life and to being people of God that came from the 2nd Vatican Council…Your Community, born at the end of the Sixties, is a daughter of the Council, of its message and of its spirit.”
The future of the world appears uncertain in light of the many wars and how Europe seems to have fallen back into the “tragedies of the twentieth century. He cited the “sorrows of the Syrian people, whose refugees you have welcomed in Europe through the ‘humanitarian corridors'”.
Despite the many struggled and conflict, the Pope reminded those present that “the Word of the Lord is light in the darkness, and it gives hope for peace; it helps us not to be afraid even in front of the power of evil.
“The Word of God has protected you in the past from the temptations of ideology, and today it delivers you from the intimidation of fear. For this reason, I exhort you to love the Bible, and spend increasingly more time it.”