Pope says that if we all give a little effort to build the common good, we can regenerate good relationships.
Pope Francis on Wednesday made a call for “social love,” asking everyone to give a little since the “common good requires everyone’s participation,” and if each one does his or her part, “we can regenerate good relationships on the communitarian, national, and international level and even in harmony with the environment.”
The pope offered this reflection in his continuing catechesis series on the social principles proposed by Catholic teaching and tradition.
Today he spoke of the common good and how the pandemic has enabled us to see its importance, saying that we will only come through the pandemic better off if “we all seek the common good together.”
He lamented that there are those trying to profit from the pandemic — either personally or nationally — such as those making plans to sell an eventual vaccine:
Some are taking advantage of the situation to instigate divisions: by seeking economic or political advantages, generating or exacerbating conflicts. Others simply are not interesting themselves in the suffering of others, they pass by and go their own way (see Lk 10:30-32). They are the devotees of Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of others’ suffering.
But Christians, he said, must respond to the pandemic and to the resulting socio-economic crisis, with love. God always loves us first, he said: “He always precedes us in love and in solutions.”
And to love as God does, we have to also love “those who do not love me … those who do not know me or who are strangers, and even those who make me suffer or who I consider enemies.”
Certainly, to love everyone, including enemies, is difficult – I would say it is even an art! But an art that can be learned and improved. True love that makes us fruitful and free is always expansive, and true love is not only expansive, it is inclusive. This love cares, heals, and does good. How many times a caress does more good than many arguments…
In this light, Pope Francis continued, love must include civil and political relationships.
The Holy Father shared that at the entrance to the audience, a married couple asked him to pray for them, as they have a disabled son.
I asked: “How old is he?” “He is pretty old.” “And what do you do?” “We accompany him, help him.” All of their lives as parents for that disabled son. This is love.
The pope suggested that in this way, we must love politicians who we oppose — who “according to our opinion, seem to be ‘disabled’ … only God knows if they truly are or not. … But we must love them, we must dialogue, we must build this civilization of love, this political and social civilization of the unity of all humanity. Otherwise, wars, divisions, envy, even wars in families: because inclusive love is social, it is familial, it is political… love pervades everything.”
The coronavirus is showing us that each person’s true good is a common good, not only an individual good, and vice versa — the common good is a true good for the person. If a person only seeks his or her own good, that person is egotistical. Instead, the person is kinder, nobler, when his or her own good is open to everyone, when it is shared. Health, in addition to being an individual good, is also a public good. A healthy society is one that takes care of everyone’s health, of all.
The pope said this virus, which does not recognize borders or cultural or political distinctions, “must be faced with a love without barriers, borders, or distinctions.”
Love generates structures that “encourage us to share rather than to compete, that allow us to include the most vulnerable and not to cast them aside, that help us to express the best in our human nature and not the worst.”
And, the pope said, this love needs to be lived out in small and large communities: “What is done in the family, what is done in the neighborhood, what is done in the region, what is done in the large cities and internationally is the same, it is the same seed that grows, grows, grows and bears fruit. If you in your family, in your neighborhood start out with envy, with battles, there will be war in the end. Instead, if you start out with love, to share love, forgiveness, there will be love and forgiveness for everyone.”