By Robin Gomes
“Go crazy to love, mad to share one's vulnerability with those who are vulnerable”. This was the exhortation of Pope Francis, November 29, to over a thousand guests, volunteers, animators and workers of Caritas Rome, gathered at Cittadella della Carità.
Deeply moved by the testimonies of Ornella and Alessio, a volunteer and a guest rescued from the street, the Pope reflected on the word “vulnerability”. Speaking off the cuff, he explained that the word unites us all, quite unlikely from the way we think.
Both those who cry for help and knock at the door, and those who decide to bend down until they touch the wounds of their brothers and sisters, are vulnerable.
“We are all vulnerable and to work in Caritas we must recognize that word made flesh in the heart,” the Pope said. Someone asking for help means saying, “I am vulnerable”, and helping anyone is doing so from one's own vulnerability. “It is the encounter of different wounds, of different weaknesses, but we are all weak, we are all vulnerable,” the Pope said.
The Pope explained that this awareness of our human vulnerability is derived from God who became vulnerable for us. “He became one of us: He had no home to be born in, He suffered persecution and had to flee to another country. He was poor, a migrant and that is why we can speak to him without fear.”
“We have the same identity card: vulnerable, loved and saved by God,” Pope said, adding one cannot help and approach the poor from a distance. “We must touch the wounds; they are the wounds of Jesus.”
Our sores and wounds
By touching the sores and wounds of our neighbours, we realize our own sores and wound. This, the Pope said, is the great grace that the poor reveal to us - making us realize our vulnerability.
Everyone has his or her own vulnerability, the Holy Father continued, but the surname is the same: vulnerable. This shows we are in need of salvation and healing. “And God does not bring salvation with a decree. He does so by walking with us, by approaching us in Jesus.”
Crazy to love
Pope Francis further explained that the only possible proclamation of the Gospel of Charity is testimony, never proselytism. In this regard, he held out the example of the Samaritan, who although not a religious, helps the man wounded by robbers and takes him to an inn, paying the innkeeper to care for him.
The innkeeper, the Pope observed, must have thought the Samaritan was a madman. “Madness with love, madness to help, madness to share one's vulnerability with the vulnerable; even insanity,” he told the Caritas Rome. “This is the programme: be mad. Think of the innkeeper,” the Pope exhorted.