Pope Francis Says "Contemplating is giving oneself time to be silent, to pray, so that harmony returns to the soul..." to "Laudato Si" Meeting - Full Text


Paul VI Audience Hall
Saturday, 12 September 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I welcome you, and in greeting you I wish to reach all the members of the Laudato Si 'Communities in Italy and throughout the world. I thank Mr. Carlo Pertini in my paternal, non-maternal language: “Carlìn”. You have placed the integral ecology proposed by the Encyclical Laudato si ' as the driving force of all your initiatives Integral, because we are all creatures and everything in creation is related, everything is related. Indeed, I dare say, everything is harmonious. The pandemic has also proved it: human health cannot be separated from that of the environment in which it lives. It is also evident that climate change does not only upset the balance of nature, but causes poverty and hunger, affects the most vulnerable and sometimes forces them to leave their land. Neglect of creation and social injustices influence each other: it can be said that there is no ecology without equity and there is no equity without ecology.
You are motivated to take care of the least and of creation, together, and you want to do it following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, with meekness and industriousness. I thank you for this, and I renew the appeal to commit ourselves to safeguard our common home. It is a task that concerns everyone, especially those responsible for nations and for productive activities. What is needed is a real will to tackle the causes of the ongoing climate upheavals at the root. Generic commitments are not enough - words, words ... - and one cannot only look at the immediate consent of one's constituents or financiers. We need to look far, otherwise history will not forgive. We need to work today for everyone's tomorrow. The young and the poor will ask us for an account. It is our challenge. I take a sentence from the martyr theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: our challenge today it is not “how we manage”, how we get out of this reality; our real challenge is "what the life of the next generation will be like": we must think about this!
Dear friends, now I would like to share with you two key words of integral ecology: contemplation and compassion .
Contemplation . Today, the nature that surrounds us is no longer admired, contemplated, but "devoured". We have become voracious, dependent on profit and results now and at all costs. The gaze on reality is increasingly rapid, distracted, superficial, while in a short time the news and the forests are burnt. Sick of consumption. This is our disease! Sick of consumption. We scramble for the latest “ app”, But the names of the neighbors are no longer known, the less one knows how to distinguish one tree from another. And, what is more serious, with this lifestyle the roots are lost, the gratitude for what is there and for those who gave it to us is lost. In order not to forget, we must return to contemplating; in order not to be distracted by a thousand useless things, it is necessary to find silence again; so that the heart does not become sick, it is necessary to stop. It's not easy. For example, we need to free ourselves from the imprisonment of the cell phone, to look in the eyes of those around us and the creation that has been given to us.
Contemplating is giving oneself time to be silent, to pray, so that harmony returns to the soul, the healthy balance between head, heart and hands; between thought, feeling and action. Contemplation is the antidote to hasty, superficial and inconclusive choices. Those who contemplate learn to feel the ground that supports them, they understand that they are not alone and meaningless in the world. He discovers the tenderness of God's gaze and understands that he is precious. Everyone is important in God's eyes, everyone can transform a bit of a world polluted by human voracity into the good reality desired by the Creator. Those who know how to contemplate, in fact, do not sit idle, but get busy concretely. Contemplation leads you to action, to do.
Here is the second word: compassionIt is the fruit of contemplation. How is it understood that someone is a contemplative, that he has assimilated the gaze of God? If he has compassion for others - compassion is not saying: "I feel sorry for this ...", compassion is "suffering with" -, if it goes beyond excuses and theories, to see in others brothers and sisters to cherish. What Carlo Petrini finally said about brotherhood. This is the proof, because so does the gaze of God who, despite all the evil we think and do, always sees us as beloved children. He does not see individuals, but children, he sees brothers and sisters of a single family, who live in the same house. We are never strangers to his eyes. His compassion is the opposite of our indifference. Indifference - I allow myself the somewhat vulgar word - is that indifference that enters the heart, the mentality, and that ends with a "who gets by". Compassion is the opposite of indifference.
It also applies to us: our compassion is the best vaccine against the epidemic of indifference. "It does not concern me", "it does not concern me", "I have nothing to do with it", "it is his thing": these are the symptoms of indifference. There is a beautiful photograph - I have said it on other occasions -, taken by a Roman photographer, found in the Almsgiving. One winter night, we see a lady of a certain age coming out of a luxury restaurant, with a fur coat, hat, gloves, well covered from the cold, comes out after having eaten well - which is not a sin, to eat well ! [laugh] - and there is another woman at the door, with a crutch, badly dressed, you can see that she feels the cold ... a homeless, with an outstretched hand ... And the lady who comes out of the restaurant looks away. The photo is called "Indifference". When I saw her, I called the photographer to tell him, “You were good at taking this spontaneously,” and said to put it in Alms. In order not to fall into the spirit of indifference. Instead, those who have compassion go from "I don't care about you" to "you are important to me". Or at least "you touch my heart". But compassion is not a beautiful feeling, it is not pietism, it is creating a new bond with the other. It is to take charge of it, like the good Samaritan who, moved by compassion , takes care of that unfortunate person who does not even know ( cf.Lk10.33-34). The world needs this creative and effective charity, of people who do not stand in front of a screen to comment, but of people who get their hands dirty to remove degradation and restore dignity. Having compassion is a choice: it is choosing not to have any enemy in order to see my neighbor in each one And this is a choice.
This doesn't mean getting soft and giving up fighting. Indeed, those who have compassion enter into a hard daily struggle against waste and waste, the waste of others and the waste of things. It hurts to think about how many people are discarded without compassion: the elderly, children, workers, people with disabilities ... But the waste of things is also scandalous. FAO has documented that more than a billion - more than a billion are thrown away in industrialized countries! - tons of edible food! This is reality. Together, let's help each other fight against waste and waste, we demand political choices that combine progress and equity, development and sustainability for all, so that no one is deprived of the land they live in, the good air they breathe, the water they have right to drink and food that has the right to eat.
I am sure that the members of each of your communities will not be satisfied with living as spectators, but will always be mild and determined protagonists in building the future of all. And all this does fraternity. Working as and as brothers. Building universal fraternity. And this is the moment, this is today's challenge. I wish you to nurture contemplation and compassion, indispensable ingredients of integral ecology. I thank you again for your presence and for your commitment. I thank you for your prayers. To those of you who pray, I ask to pray, and to those who do not pray, at least send me good waves, I need it! [laugh, applause]

And now I would like to ask God to bless each of you, bless the heart of each of you, whether you are a believer or a non-believer, of whatever religious tradition it is. May God bless you all. Amen.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va