TO THE MEMBERS OF THE "LAZARE" ASSOCIATION
Friday, May 21, 2021
I am pleased to welcome you members of the “ Lazare ” Association , in this year in which you are celebrating your tenth anniversary. I thank God for this meeting, which last year was canceled due to the health crisis.
It is always a joy to see that even today many people, full of faith, good will and courage, are committed to living the experience of service and fraternity.
Your Association is built on simple principles, such as: "be yourself with others, find joy, feel loved, learn kindness as in a family, live together very simply". These principles make sense and shape a stable group only if they spring from a strong friendship with Christ, the source of your work for good. By going out to meet others in their situations and forming a family in which harmony and the joy of living together reign, you participate in the Church's mission to go to the peripheries of our society. As I told you in the videoconference of May 29, 2020, “the existential peripheries are the center of the heart of God. Jesus wanted to come to our existential peripheries. He himself became an existential periphery ».
Dear young people, you have chosen to place yourselves at the service of human dignity, to make yourselves close to people who are excluded, homeless, rejected, often betrayed in their rights. By serving them, you are serving the Lord himself. With your apostolate, you help us understand that each person is a sacred history, a priceless gift. Indeed, "the Lord invites us to get involved generously, to overcome fear with the courage of love, to overcome passivity that becomes complicity" ( Homily at the Mass for the World Day of the Poor, November 15, 2020). In these times of uncertainty, of fragility, instead of wasting your life thinking only of yourself, you experience solidarity cohabitation. This gives you a way to enrich your life by becoming a source of hope for those who no longer believe in themselves and feel humiliated.
You wanted to be, for the people you serve, the hand, the eyes, the ears, the smile of God. You show them the closeness of the Lord who takes care of his people, especially those who are wounded and life, because "love of neighbor is realistic and does not waste anything that is necessary for a transformation of history aimed at the benefit of the least" (Enc. Fratelli tutti , 165 ). With your commitment and dedication, try to be Christian not only in words but in deeds. Thus you bear much fruit and this is seen in the expansion of your Association in other countries and continents.
Do not be afraid to transmit the torch of hope and love. Be witnesses of God's tenderness in the midst of the culture of selfishness, individualism, indifference, waste, contempt for the poor and the weak.
Dear friends, benefiting from this initiative of love, you who live this beautiful adventure with your story sometimes full of sadness, loneliness, tears, trials, exclusion and rejection, you are a precious gift that makes us see the love of the Lord. You are not waste, inferior men, failed people, as society sometimes wants us to believe. In God's eyes, you are a treasure, a gift, a life, a dignity. On your faces, we see the suffering face of Christ who invites us to an urgent love and an open heart.
Having received so much good and so much attention from others, you in turn become men and women capable of lifting up, of consoling, of soothing wounds and of making God present in the heart of your lives. I encourage you to give the best of yourself, to live every moment of existence as a grace, to come out of anonymity and make your life an offer for the beautiful, for the good. In fact, "Lazarus means offering, humanity's offering, of what is best: the awareness of limits" ( Videoconference with the “Lazare” Association , 29 May 2020).
I urge you all to stay true to your goals. Today more than ever we need to build a world, a society of fraternal and full of life relationships. Because «actions derive from a union that increasingly inclines towards the other, considering him as precious, worthy, pleasing and beautiful, beyond physical or moral appearances. Love for the other for what he is pushes us to seek the best for his life. Only by cultivating this way of relating will we make possible social friendship that excludes no one and fraternity open to all "(Enc. Fratelli tutti , 94 ). Therefore, I invite you to be witnesses, witnesses of God's mercy and goodness.
I entrust each one of you and your families, as well as the members of the Association to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and of Saint Lazarus, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you. Please don't forget to pray for me.