Pope Francis Encourages "Adoring Jesus in the Eucharist and "listening" to his wounds in the weakest...." FULL TEXT



Paul VI Audience Hall - Monday, 13 December 2021


Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for this visit, with which you wanted to return the one I made there in 2013 on the occasion of my first pilgrimage to Assisi . And you have chosen to come on this 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Seraphic Institute by San Ludovico da Casoria. I join in your joy and your celebration.

A hug first of all to the boys: those who were able to face the journey and those who stayed at home. 


 They are the center of your mission. Together with them I welcome those who accompany them in the most diverse tasks, but also those who offer cordial support to this great work, from the families of the children themselves to the institutions. I greet Bishop Domenico Sorrentino - tireless, he goes everywhere: Domenico continues like this! I thank the President Francesca Di Maolo for the words she addressed to me. I greet the representatives of the Casoria Institute entrusted to the spiritual daughters of San Ludovico, the Franciscan Sisters Elisabettine Bigie. It is beautiful that the two Institutes, although distinct, walk guided by the same ideal inspiration.

I remember well the time I spent with you in Assisi. I had come to follow in the footsteps of the Saint whose name I took. The meeting with your children, whom I greeted one by one, made me relive, in some way, that embrace of the least that characterized the life of St. Francis. He made himself poor, following the example of Jesus, to be fully on the side of the least. His embrace of a leper contains the meaning of his whole life. In the Testament he says that it was with that embrace that his conversion began. In those sick and marginalized people he saw Jesus. He bent over their wounds. He put them at the center of the attention of society, even then tempted by that "throwaway culture" that makes wealth concentrate in the hands of a few, while many remain on the margins, perceived as a burden, barely worthy of an alms.

Saint Louis of Casoria, as a true Franciscan, had assimilated the message of the Seraphic Father. In his creative and generous charity, he did not think twice when, on a pilgrimage to Assisi, praying before the Crucifix, he listened to his voice which, with a triple "yes", confirmed his inspiration to found an institute dedicated to the blind. and deaf and dumb, categories at that time lacking the necessary social support. Since then, the Seraphic Institute has made great strides, growing in its offer of services to welcome young people in a state of serious and multiple disabilities, and has distinguished itself for the professionalism with which it carries out its mission, receiving a well-deserved applause from the community itself. scientific.

The most important thing is the spirit with which all of you dedicate yourselves to this mission. For you it is clear, as it should be for everyone, that every human person is precious, has a value that does not depend on what he has or on his abilities, but on the simple fact that he is a person, the image of God. disease make life more difficult, this is no less worth living, and lived to the full. After all, who among us has no limits, and does not face, sooner or later, even serious limitations? It is important to look at the disabled person as one of us, who must be at the center of our care and concern, and also at the center of everyone's attention and of politics. It is a goal of civilization. By adopting this principle, one realizes that the person with disabilities not only receives, but gives. Taking care of them is not a one-way gesture, but an exchange of gifts. We Christians find in the Gospel of love - I am thinking of the parable of the Good Samaritan - one more reason for all this. But the principle is valid for everyone, inscribed as it is in the conscience, which makes us feel our condition of unity among all human beings. We are truly linked by a bond of fraternity, as I reiterated in the EncyclicalAll brothers , whom I wanted to sign in Assisi .

It is therefore necessary that we become fully aware of this principle and develop its consequences, even when it comes to distributing common wealth, so that it does not happen that those who most need help are deprived of it.

I think of many structures that perform this service, like you, and sometimes struggle to survive or to make the most of their performance. Certainly not everything can be expected from public bodies. The solidarity of many people is needed, as is the case with your benefactors. The Lord bless them for their good heart. But the state and the public administration must do their part. Many families cannot be left alone, forced to fight to support children in difficulty, with the great concern of the future that awaits them when they will no longer be able to follow them.

Many parents find a new family for their children in your facility. That's beautiful! Some of them are present here. The “Seraphic” feels that they are an integral part of his community, and they are happy to experience that the services of the Institute are not limited to professional assistance, but ensure that each one receives personalized, attentive and caring attention. The logic of the "Seraphic" is love, what one learns from the Gospel at the school of San Francesco and San Ludovico; love that knows how to read eyes or gestures, anticipates desires, does not give up in the face of fatigue, finds the strength to start over every day, and rejoices in every little progress of the assisted person. Life is always beautiful, even with few resources. Sometimes it knows how to surprise. I know your kids can do many things, becoming small artists of theater, radio or painting. Their smile repays any effort.

You have had a hard time in this pandemic period. But the very fact that you have also organized a trip to Rome with a good group of your kids - and I imagine the difficulty - gives me the measure of your commitment and enthusiasm.

I learned that in recent years the initiative you announced to me at the time, to make your chapel a place of permanent Eucharistic adoration, continued until the Covid emergency suspended it. Adoring Jesus in the Eucharist and "listening" to his wounds in the weakest, as I told you in 2013 , has become your program. Thank you!

A socio-political school has also developed in your Institute, to stimulate society to rethink itself starting from the least. This school fits well into the framework of the Economy of Francesco initiative , helping to renew the economy in justice and solidarity.

Dear brothers and sisters, go forward in the footsteps of the Saints. May your work always have the flavor and joy of mission. Every smile of your children will be the smile of God for you. I bless you from my heart and I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.

FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot - Translation from Italian