Pope Francis says "Let Jesus come to meet you, heal your wounds and teach you to see with the heart." to Association of the Blind - FULL TEXT
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE "VOIR ENSEMBLE" ASSOCIATION
Sala Clementina - Saturday 19 February 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, welcome!
I greet all of you, members of the Voir Ensemble Association , who have organized this pilgrimage to Rome. Your Association brings together many blind and partially sighted who want to walk together to live the joy of the Gospel in fraternity.
I thank the President for his kind words and extend my greetings to all the members of Voir Ensemble .
Your pilgrimage is a sign of the full participation of the faithful in a condition of disability in the communion of the Church. In this perspective I would like to share with you a brief reflection based on the Word of God: on the episode of Jesus meeting the man born blind (cf. Jn 9: 1-41) in accordance with the name of your Association, Voir Ensemble .
The first thing to note is that the gaze of Jesus precedes us, it is a gaze that calls to encounter, which calls to action, to tenderness, to fraternity. Jesus arrives at the pool of Siloe: he sees a man blind from birth. The disciples also see that man, who asks for nothing. And Jesus sees in him a brother who needs to be freed, to be saved. The Lord calls us to cultivate tenderness and the style of encounter. The disciples, for their part, are steadfast in the gaze that at that time had on people born blind, considered as born in sin, punished by God and prisoners of a look of exclusion.
In a culture of prejudice, Jesus radically rejects this way of seeing. For this he affirms before the disciples that "neither he nor his parents" (v. 3) are the cause of his evil. It is a word of liberation, of welcome, of salvation. Today, unfortunately, we are used to perceiving only the outside of things, the most superficial aspect. Our culture states that people are worthy of interest in terms of their physical appearance, their clothes, their beautiful homes, their luxury cars, their social position, their wealth. As the Gospel teaches us, still today the sick or disabled person, starting from his fragility, from his limitation, can be at the heart of the encounter: the encounter with Jesus, who opens to life and faith, and who can to build fraternal and solidarity relationships, in the Church and in society.
Secondly, Christ does "the works of God" for the blind man (v. 3), giving him sight. He approaches the blind man, applies mud over his eyes and sends him to Siloe's pool. The heart of Jesus cannot remain indifferent to suffering. He invites us to act immediately, to console, soothe and heal the wounds of our brothers. The Church is like a field hospital. How many wounded, how many brothers and sisters need an outstretched hand to heal their wounds!
The paradox is this: that blind man, meeting the One who is the Light of the world, becomes capable of seeing, while those who see us, while meeting Jesus, remain blind. This paradox very often runs through our own life and our ways of believing. Saint-Exupéry, in his book Of him The little prince, he wrote: «One sees well only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye". Seeing with the heart is seeing the world and our brothers through God's gaze. Jesus invites us to renew our way of seeing people and things. He offers us an ever new vision of our relationships with others, especially in the family, of our human frailty, of illness and death. He invites us to see all this with God's gaze! Faith is not reduced to a series of theoretical beliefs, traditions and customs. It is a bond and a path to following Jesus, who always renews our way of seeing the world and our brothers.
Finally, we Christians cannot be satisfied with being enlightened: we must also be "witnesses of the light" (cf. Jn 1,8). While the leaders of the Pharisees, closed in their traditions and their rigidity, condemn the blind man born as a "sinner", he, with disloving simplicity, professes his faith: "One thing I know: I was blind and now I see" ( Jn 9:25), and becomes a witness of Jesus, a witness of God's work, a work of mercy, of love that gives life. We too are called to bear witness to Jesus in our life with the style of welcome and fraternal love.
Dear friends, I thank you for coming and I encourage you to continue on this path, in which you are already walking, in this "seeing together", " voir ensemble ", making the charism of Father Yves Mollat bear fruit. Let Jesus come to meet you, heal your wounds and teach you to see with the heart. Only He truly knows the heart of man, only He can free it from closure and rigidity and open it to life and hope.
I entrust you all to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, she always introduces us to the encounter with Christ, I ask her to guide your steps and I give you my blessing. And please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you!
Source: Vatican.va - Translation from Italian - Image Screenshot Vatican Media