Pope Francis Tells Business Group "Economic conversion will be possible when we experience a conversion of heart..." and Sets St. Francis of Assisi as an Example

Hall of the Consistory
Monday, October 17, 2022
I cordially greet you, dear brothers and sisters, members of the Spanish Confederation of Associations of Young Entrepreneurs and the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Galicia —they are all young from what I see, which is very good—, and I thank you for your kind words that directed me Your presence here is a sign of hope.
We are in a time with notorious economic and social imbalances. The Second Vatican Council had already stated that "luxury swarms alongside misery," I am quoting. And while a few have a vast power of decision, many lack any initiative and any responsibility, often living in living and working conditions unworthy of the human person” (Const. Past. Gaudium et Spes, 63). In this context, it is urgent to propose an adequate economy to help solve the great problems that we are experiencing worldwide.
I would like to share with you three ideas that seem appropriate for your journey as entrepreneurs. First, there is the prophecy. How, Father, what did he say? The prophecy? What does the prophecy have to do with the company? I propose them. In the Bible, the prophet is the one who speaks on behalf of God, who transmits his message, and through whom he favors a change in his environment. For example, Amos, the prophet of "justice", denounced as early as the 7th century B.C. the desire for luxury and enrichment of the powerful in the people of Israel, which benefited only a sector that could, while the vast majority of the people were oppressed, hungry, in need. In a context as complex as the current one, characterized by war and the environmental crisis, it is up to you to carry out your service, let us say, as prophets who announce and build the common home, respecting all forms of life, taking an interest in the good of all and promoting peace. Without prophecy, the economy, and in general all human action, is blind. Because that lies in itself, right? When it doesn't get sick and it turns into finance, and when the economy turns into finance, everything becomes liquid or gaseous and ends up like the San Antonio chain, which one doesn't know. how much is here, how much is there, because you don't touch it and it's all gaseous. An economic financial leader at the world level, chatting with me one day, told me that she had tried —she held a very high position— to make an encounter between economics, humanism and religion, and that she had been very good. She tried to do the same with finance, humanism and religion, and they found no way out. That makes me think a lot, doesn't it?
The second aspect refers to the care of the relationship with God. First the prophecy, second, care of the relationship with God. As the land, when well cultivated and cared for, bears abundant fruit, so too we, when we cultivate spiritual health, when we have a well-cared relationship with the Lord, begin to bear many good fruits. The prophet Amos emphasizes «seek the Lord and you will live, […] seek good and not evil, and thus the Lord […] will be with you» (5,6.14). The heroism that the world needs today from you can only be sustainable if there are strong roots. Ask yourself, how are my roots? Which doesn't mean going back, no. The roots to be able to grow better. Let it be a harmony between the roots, the trunk, the fruits. Economic conversion will be possible when we experience a conversion of heart; when we are able to think more about those in need; when we learn to put the common good before the individual good; when we understand that the shortage of love and justice in our relationships is a consequence of a neglect of our relationship with the Creator, and this also affects our common home. Then, and perhaps only then, will we be able to reverse the harmful actions that are preparing a sad future for the new generations. Remember that cultivating the relationship with the Lord makes it possible to have strong roots that will sustain the projects that you wish to undertake.
The third thought that I share with you has to do with work and poverty. Saint Francis of Assisi has given us an important testimony of these, who carried out not only the restoration of the chapel of San Damiano, but, above all, contributed to restoring the Church of his time. Concretely, he did it with the love he had for the poor and with his austere way of living. With the values ​​of work and poverty, which imply complete trust in God and not in things, an economy can be created that reconciles all the members of the various stages of production with each other, without despising each other, without create greater injustices or live a cold indifference. On the other hand, this does not mean that misery is loved, which, on the contrary, has to be combated, and for this you have good instruments, such as the possibility of creating jobs, and thus contributing to dignifying your neighbors. . For through work, the Lord "raises the helpless from the dust, lifts the poor from the rubbish" (Ps 113:7). So here we have a remedy to combat the disease of misery: work and love for the poor. Be creative in planning your work, be creative and that will give you much more strength.
I encourage you to continue creatively transforming the face of the economy, so that it is more attentive to ethical principles (cf. Letter enc. Laudato si', 189) and does not forget that its activity is at the service of human beings, not only of a few but of all, especially the poor. In addition, it is important that you become aware that you are not above nature, but that you have to take care of it, because future generations depend on this. Your company must have, in some way, a care not to contaminate nature more, on the contrary, to open healing paths. One of the great European scientists in a meeting I had six months ago said: "yesterday a granddaughter was born, and I thought, poor thing, if things continue like this, in thirty years, she will have to inhabit an uninhabitable world". It is still in our hands to change this pollution trend that is destroying everything.
I would like to finish my message, entrusting you to the protection of the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph. They knew how to take care of their family and their home with the hearts of parents. May they intercede for you, so that the Lord may also grant you a maternal and paternal love to care for the human family, to care for and care for the common home. This is a virtue that is not talked about much when economics classes are taught - stay tuned -: one of your main functions is to take care, take care of your loved ones, take care of your company, take care of your employees, take care of the common home, take care of everything, right? The good economist, the good businessman takes care. May God bless you, may the Virgin take care of you. And don't forget to pray for me, I need it. Thanks.
Source: Vatican.va