Pope Francis Asks "Where does my gaze start from?" - "Jesus' gaze began with mercy and compassion for the poor and the excluded." FULL TEXT

Clementina room
Saturday, October 8, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank you for the introductory words. And I thank all of you for the work you do. I consider your contribution regarding the social doctrine of the Church to be very important, above all on the level of reception, because you contribute to making it known and understood; I would say, however, also on the level of in-depth study, because you read it "from within" the complex economic and social world, and therefore you can continually compare this doctrine with reality, a reality that is always in motion, which changes continuously.
The theme of your conference these days was “Inclusive growth to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development for peace”. It seems to me that the key expression is the initial one: "inclusive growth". It makes us think of the Populorum progressio of Saint Paul VI, where he affirms: «Development is not reduced to simple economic growth. To be authentic development, it must be integral, which means aimed at the promotion of every man and the whole man "(n. 14). Therefore, development is either inclusive or not development. So, here is our task, especially yours as lay faithful: to “leaven” the economic reality in an ethical sense, growth in the sense of development. And you try to do it, starting from the vision of the Gospel. Because everything comes from how you look at reality.
In one of his novels, a contemporary American narrator talks about the time before the stock market crash and writes: "Within the various states, the Depression was already making itself felt, and farmers and laborers everywhere were in a state of alarm. We met a lot of desperate people on the street, and Maestro Yehudi taught me never to look at anyone from top to bottom "(Paul Auster, Mr Vertigo, Turin 2015, 126).
Everything comes from how you look, and from where you look. Looking at another from top to bottom, it is permissible to do so only in one situation: to help him rise. Not more. This is the only legitimate time to look from above to below. Jesus' gaze knew how to see in the poor people who put two small coins in the offering box at the Temple a gesture of total gift (cf. Mk 12: 41-44). Jesus' gaze began with mercy and compassion for the poor and the excluded. Where does my gaze start from? A question that will always help us.
Inclusive growth finds its starting point in an uninspired gaze, free from the pursuit of profit maximization. Poverty is not fought with welfare, no, so it is "anesthetized" but not fought. As I already said in Laudato si ', "helping the poor with money must always be a temporary remedy for dealing with emergencies. The real objective should be to allow them a dignified life through work "(n. 128). The door is work: the door to a man's dignity is work.
Without everyone's commitment to foster work policies for the most vulnerable, a world culture of waste is favored. I tried to explain this conviction also in the first chapter of the Encyclical Brothers All, where, among other things, it is recalled that "wealth has increased, but without equity, and so it happens that new poverties are born" (n. 21). Wealth grows and new poverties are born.
This is why the future calls for a new gaze, and each in his own small way is called to promote this different way of looking at the world, starting from the people and situations he experiences in everyday life. The Master, in the novel I cited, teaches his pupil to "never look at anyone from top to bottom"; I think this can be a good indication for everyone. We are all brothers and sisters, and if I am the owner of a company, this does not legitimize me to look at my employees with an air of disdain. If I am the CEO of a bank, I must not forget that every person must be treated with respect and care.
The Centesimus Annus Foundation can decline the important reflections conducted in these days, through the conversion of each person's gaze. The humble gaze of those who see in every man and woman they meet a brother and sister to be respected in their dignity, before eventually being a customer to do business with. He is a brother, a sister, a person; he can be a customer. Only with this gaze will we be able to fight against the evils of current speculation that feeds the winds of war. Never looking down on anyone is the style of every peacemaker. It is only permissible to do this to help lift yourself up.
Dear friends, I thank you for coming, and above all for the commitment that each of you places, where you live and work, in order to promote inclusive growth and, more generally, knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church. I cordially bless all of you and your families. And please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va