Pope Francis' Message for Friendship Meeting "...we believe that Christ shed his blood for each and every one, and therefore no one remains outside his universal love for him." FULL TEXT

[RIMINI, 20-25 AUGUST 2022]
From the Vatican, 21 July 2022
To His Most Reverend Excellency
Bishop of Rimini
Most Reverend Excellency,
The Holy Father greets you from the heart and entrusts you, through me, with this message for the next Meeting for friendship among peoples, entitled "A passion for man". On the centenary of the birth of the Servant of God Mons.Luigi Giussani, the organizers intend to make a grateful memory of his apostolic zeal, which prompted him to meet so many people and to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to each one. In fact, he said in his speech at the 1985 Meeting: "Christianity was not born to found a religion, it was born as a passion for man. [...]
Love for man, veneration for man, tenderness for man, passion for man, absolute esteem for man ".
Sometimes it seems that history has turned its back on this gaze of Christ on man. Pope Francis has emphasized this on many occasions: "The fragility of the times in which we live is also this: believing that there is no possibility of redemption, a hand that lifts you up, an embrace that saves you, forgives you, lifts you up, floods you with an infinite, patient, indulgent love; puts you back on track "(God's name is Mercy. A conversation with Andrea Tornielli, Vatican City-Milan 2016, 31). This is the most painful aspect of the experience of many who have experienced loneliness during the pandemic or who have had to abandon everything to escape the violence of war. Here then is that the parable of the good Samaritan is today more than ever a key word, because it is evident how "men in their hearts are waiting for the Samaritan to come to their aid, for him to bend over them, pour oil on their wounds , take care of them and take them to shelter. Ultimately they know they need the mercy of God and his delicacy [...], a saving love that is given freely "(Interview with H.H. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in By means of faith, edited by Daniele Libanori , Cinisello Balsamo 2016, 129).
The Gospel points to the Good Samaritan as the model of an unconditional passion for every brother and sister one meets along the way; and for this reason it has a profound assonance with the theme of the Meeting: "Let us take care of the fragility of every man, every woman, every child and every elderly person, with that supportive and attentive attitude, the attitude of proximity to good Samaritan "(Enc. Brothers all, 79).
It is not just a question of generosity, which some have more and others less. Here Jesus wants to put us in front of the deep root of the gesture of the good Samaritan. Pope Francis describes it thus: «Recognizing Christ himself in every abandoned or excluded brother (cf. Mt 25,40.45). In reality, faith fills the recognition of the other with unprecedented motivations, because those who believe can come to recognize that God loves every human being with infinite love and thereby confers infinite dignity on him. To this we add that we believe that Christ shed his blood for each and every one, and therefore no one remains outside his universal love for him "(ibid., 85).
This mystery never ceases to amaze us, as Fr Giussani himself testified in the presence of Saint John Paul II on May 30, 1998: "" What is man that you remember him, the son of man that you care for him? ". No question has ever struck me, in life, as well as this one. There was only one man in the world who could answer me, asking a new question: "What advantage will man have if he gains the whole world and then loses himself? Or what will man be able to give in exchange for himself? ". […] Only Christ takes all of my humanity to heart "(Generating traces in the history of the world, Milan 2019, 78).
It is this passion of Christ for the destiny of each creature that must animate the gaze of the believer towards everyone: a gratuitous love, without measure and without calculations. But - we ask ourselves - could not all this appear to be a pious intention, compared to what we see happening in today's world? In the clash of all against all, where selfishness and partisan interests seem to dictate the agenda in the life of individuals and nations, how is it possible to look at those around us as an asset to be respected, safeguarded and cared for? How is it possible to bridge the gap that separates one from the other? The pandemic and the war seem to have widened the gap, pushing back the path towards a more united and supportive humanity.
But we know that the path of fraternity is not drawn in the clouds: it crosses the many spiritual deserts present in our societies. «In the desert - said Pope Benedict XVI - the value of what is essential for living is rediscovered; thus in the contemporary world there are innumerable signs, often expressed in implicit or negative form, of the thirst for God, of the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert there is a need above all for people of faith who, with their very lives, show the way to the Promised Land and thus keep hope awake "(Homily in the Holy Mass for the opening of the Year of Faith, 11 October 2012). Pope Francis never tires of indicating the road that crosses the desert bringing life: «Our commitment does not consist exclusively in actions or programs of promotion and assistance; what the Spirit sets in motion is not an excess of activism, but first of all an attention paid to the other, considering him as a single thing with oneself. This attention of love is the beginning of a true concern for his person and starting from him I want to effectively seek his good "(Ap. Evangelii gaudium, 199).
Recovering this awareness is crucial. A person cannot walk the path of self-discovery alone, the encounter with the other is essential. In this sense, the Good Samaritan shows us that our existence is intimately connected to that of others and that the relationship with the other is a condition for becoming fully ourselves and bearing fruit. By giving us life, God has given us himself in some way because we, in turn, give ourselves to others: "A human being is made in such a way that he does not realize himself, does not develop and cannot find his fullness if not through a sincere gift of self "(Enc. Fratelli tutti, 87). Fr Giussani added that charity is a gift of oneself "moved". In fact, it is moving to think that God, the Almighty, bent over our nothingness, took pity on us and loved us one by one with an eternal love.
What is the fruit of one who, imitating Jesus, makes a gift of himself? "Social friendship that excludes no one and fraternity open to all" (ibid., 94). A hug that breaks down walls and goes to meet the other in the awareness of how much each individual person is worth, in whatever situation they are. A love for the other for what he is: a creature of God, made in the image and likeness of him, therefore endowed with an intangible dignity, which no one can dispose of or, worse, abuse.
It is this social friendship that, as believers, we are invited to nurture with our witness: "The evangelizing community places itself in the daily life of others through works and gestures, shortens distances, lowers itself to the point of humiliation if necessary, and assumes human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in the people "(Evangelii gaudium, 24). How much need the men and women of our time have to meet people who do not give lessons from the balcony, but take to the streets to share the daily toil of living, supported by a reliable hope!
Pope Francis insists on calling Christians to this historic task, for the good of all, in the certainty that the source of the dignity of every human being and the possibility of universal brotherhood is the Gospel of Jesus incarnate in the life of the Christian community: "If the music of the Gospel stops vibrating in our bowels, we will have lost the joy that springs from compassion, the tenderness that comes from trust, the capacity for reconciliation that finds its source in knowing that we are always forgiven-sent. If the music of the Gospel stops playing in our homes, in our squares, in the workplace, in politics and in the economy, we will have turned off the melody that caused us to fight for the dignity of every man and woman "(Speech in the Ecumenical meeting, Riga - Latvia, 24 September 2018).
The Holy Father hopes that the organizers and participants of the 2022 Meeting will welcome this appeal with a happy and available heart, continuing to collaborate with the universal Church on the path of friendship between peoples, expanding the passion for mankind throughout the world. And while he entrusts this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, he sends his Apostolic Blessing from the heart.
By formulating my personal wishes for a Meeting that fully meets expectations, I confirm myself with a sense of distinguished respect
of Your Most Reverend Excellency
Pietro Card. Parolin
Secretary of State
Source: Vatican.va