WORLD MEETING ON HUMAN FRATERNITY “NOT ALONE” (#NOTALONE)
ADDRESS OF HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Saint Peter's Square
Saturday, June 10, 2023
Dear sisters and dear brothers, good afternoon.
Although I cannot receive you personally, I would like to welcome you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your presence. I am happy to be able to reaffirm together with you the desire for fraternity and peace for the life of the world. A writer put these words on the lips of Francis of Assisi: "The Lord is where your brothers are" (E. Leclerc, The wisdom of the poor, 59). Truly, the sky we are under invites us to walk together on earth, to rediscover ourselves as brothers and to believe in fraternity as the fundamental dynamic of our pilgrimage.
in the encyclical All brothers I wrote that "fraternity has something positive to offer to freedom and equality" (n. 103), because whoever sees a brother sees in the other a face, not a number: it is always "someone" who has a dignity and deserves respect, not "something" that can be used, exploited or discarded. In our world, torn by violence and war, tinkering and adjustments are not enough: only a great spiritual and social alliance that is born from hearts and revolves around fraternity can put relationships back at the center the sacredness and inviolability of human dignity.
For this reason, fraternity does not need theories, but concrete gestures and shared options that make it peace culture. The question we must ask ourselves is therefore not what society or the world can give me, but what I can give to my brothers and sisters. Returning home, let us think about what concrete gesture of brotherhood we can carry out: reconcile with family, friends or neighbours, pray for those who have hurt us, recognize and help those in need, bring a word of peace to the school, university or social life, anoint someone who feels lonely with our closeness.
Let us feel called to apply the balm of tenderness within the relationships that have worn out, both between individuals and between peoples. Let us not get tired of shouting “no to war”, in the name of God or in the name of every man and every woman who aspires to peace. I am reminded of those verses by Giuseppe Ungaretti who, in the middle of the war, felt the need to speak of the brothers as a «Word trembling / in the night / Leaf barely born». Fraternity is a fragile and precious asset. The brothers are an anchor of truth in the stormy sea of conflicts that sow lies. To evoke them is to remind the one who is fighting, and also to all of us, that the feeling of brotherhood that unites us is stronger than hatred and violence, in fact, it unites us all in the same pain. This is where we start from and we start again, from the meaning of “feeling together”, a spark that can turn the light back on to stop the night of conflicts.
Believing that the other is a brother, calling the other "brother" is not an empty word, but the most concrete thing that each of us can do. In fact, it means emancipating oneself from the poverty of believing that we are in the world as only children. It means, at the same time, choosing to overcome the logic of partners, who are together only for the sake of interest; also knowing how to go beyond the limits of blood or ethnic ties, who recognize only what is similar to them, but reject what is different. I think of the parable of the Samaritan (cf. MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS 10:29-37), who compassionately stops before the Jew in need of help. His cultures were enemies, their histories different, their religions hostile to each other, but for this man the person he met on the road and his need were above all.
When men and societies choose fraternity, the policies also change: the person once again prevails over profit; the common house that we all inhabit, about the environment that is exploited for one's own interests; the work is paid with the fair salary; the welcome becomes wealth; life, in hope; Justice opens to reparation and the memory of the harm caused heals in the encounter between the victims and the guilty.
Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for having organized this meeting and for giving life to the "Declaration on Human Fraternity", drawn up this morning by the distinguished Nobel laureates present. I think it offersa grammar of brotherhood” and be an effective guide to live it and bear witness to it every day in a concrete way. They have worked together very well and I thank them very much. Let us ensure that what we have experienced today is the first step on a path and can set in motion a process of fraternity: the linked squares from various cities of the world, which I greet with gratitude and affection, bear witness to the richness of the diversity and the possibility of being brothers even when we are not close, as has happened to me. keep going.
I would like to say goodbye leaving you an image, the one with the hug. From this afternoon that we have spent together, I ask you to keep in your heart and in your memory the desire to embrace the women and men of the whole world to build together a culture of peace. Peace, indeed, needs brotherhood and brotherhood needs encounter. May the hug given and received today, symbolized in the square where they are gathered, become a life commitment. And in prophecy of hope. I embrace you myself and, while I reiterate my gratitude, I tell you from the bottom of my heart: I am with you.
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