Pope Francis on Saturday met some 3,500 school boys and girls, aged 6-16, along with their parents and teachers, who participated in the “I Can” Children’s Global Summit in Rome.
SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE WORLD MEETING "I CAN"
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Dear boys and girls,
dear teachers and dear parents!
I greet you all and thank you for being here today at the end of your global meeting. I especially thank the President of FIDAE for her words of introduction.
I like to see beauty in action in your daily commitment. A beauty formed by the sharing of many small gestures. I am reminded of the art of mosaic, in which many pieces fit together to form a larger image. Up close, those little bits of stone seem to have no meaning, but together they create an amazing vision.
In our Jewish and Christian tradition, beauty and goodness are linked, they are inseparable. For example, in the book of Genesis we read that God - in creation - separates the different elements of the world, the light from the darkness, the earth from the waters ... It populates the earth with plants and animals and, when everything is ready, it creates the man and woman. At the end of the creation of everything we read: "God saw that it was good"; and for man and woman: "God saw what he had done, and behold, it was very good" (Gen 1:31).
The term "good" in Hebrew has a very extensive value and can be translated not only as good but also as harmonious. It is a polyphonic harmony, made of beauty, goodness and sharing. Creation amazes us with its splendor and variety and, at the same time, brings us back down to earth, making us understand what our role in the world is in the face of such greatness.
When we look at the sky and the stars with wonder and admiration, or in front of the murmuring of a stream with its clear waters, our mind is led to contemplate the author of so much beauty (see Wis 13: 3), a donated treasure to the human race, which in turn must cultivate and preserve it (see Gen 2:15). In the Holy Scriptures, therefore, there is a very close relationship between good and good, between beauty and goodness understood as a service to others.
As God has made the work of his creation available to human beings, so men themselves find their full realization by giving life to a "shared beauty". We are facing a "key" of the universe, on which its survival also depends: this key is God's covenant design. It is a question of recognizing the intention that is written in the beauty of creation, that is, desire of the Creator to communicate, to offer a wonderful message to those who can interpret it, that is us human beings.
We must not delude ourselves "of being able to replace an unrepeatable and unrecoverable beauty with another created by us" (Enc. Laudato si ’, 34). We cannot take the risk of Prometheus. Perhaps you have already heard the story of this young man who - although in good faith - wants to become almost a deity. He wants to replace God. Sometimes even we, without realizing it, fall into this temptation, when our "I" becomes the center of everything and everyone. Instead, dear friends, this project of yours, inspired by the encyclical Laudato si ’, rightly says that we cannot be ourselves without the other and without others. We must not be fooled and fall into the trap of exclusivity. You have understood that "I can" must become "we can together". Together it is more beautiful and more effective! I can, we can together.
Together, of course, with the teachers. A cordial greeting and thanks to all the teachers who accompany this project with their precious work. Together we are preparing for the Global Covenant on Education and the event that will take place in Rome on May 14th 2020. We are all called to build a "global village of education". This word is beautiful: "global village of education". What was the word? ... [everyone repeats] I don't feel well ... [they repeat again] Now it's good! Where those who live there generate a network of human relations, which are the best medicine against all forms of discrimination, violence and bullying. In this great village, education becomes the bearer of fraternity and creator of peace among all the peoples of the human family, and also of dialogue between their religions.
Together, of course, with parents. This is decisive for the success of your initiatives. Parents not only contribute to the final realization but, at the same time, participate in the educational project through a nice confrontation made of curiosity and novelty. Even we adults can learn from the boys who, for everything concerning the protection of nature, are at the forefront. Thanks to mothers and fathers for their contribution and their patient support.
Dear boys and dear girls, I see in you a courageous trust. Yes, the trust and courage of a concrete environmental and social improvement project; a project that can leave an impression. You have made a right choice: you have looked away from your mobile phone screen and have rolled up your sleeves to put yourself at the service of the community. And you have also put mobile phones at the service of this commitment! Creativity and imagination have made your initiatives even more interesting. You have shown that artificial intelligence alone cannot provide the human warmth we all need. I still remember when, during the Youth Synod, two girls presented the activities of your project step by step.
What makes me so happy - seeing your smiling eyes - is that you have preferred solidarity, common work and responsibility to so many other things that the world offers you. In fact it is so: certain things entertain you for a moment, and that's it. Instead this commitment together gives you a satisfaction that remains within. This is also the fruit of an educational method that involves the head, the hands and the heart, that is our different dimensions, which are always connected to each other. That's why you seem happier than those who have everything and don't want to give anything. You are happier than those who want everything and give nothing. It is only through giving that happiness can be achieved (see Acts 20:35).
Thanks! I thank you for your visit and I cordially bless you. Thanks.
And now standing, in silence we pray for each other, we all pray from our hearts and ask the Lord, we ask God to bless us all. Amen.
Source: Full Text + Image : Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation