Pope: Nourish a culture of tenderness to oppose indifference and waste
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis had warm words of gratitude for members of the Rome-based charitable association that strives to reach poor people in Rome with concrete help and compassion.
Receiving a delegation of St Peter’s Circle in audience on Monday, he said “I recognize in you the image of the Good Samaritan.”
The Pope upheld the effort, time, energy, creativity, patience, and perseverance the association puts into its work, which is carried out through a number of activities.
St Peter’s Circle was founded in 1869 through the initiative of a group of young Romans, in order to support the Church’s charitable activities. It is supported by the Diocese of Rome and carries out some of its activities directly on behalf of the Pope.
Culture of tenderness
Recalling how, in the parable of Luke’s Gospel, the Good Samaritan “approaches the wounded man by the roadside, he approaches him moved by compassion. He does not know him, he is a stranger, in a certain sense even an 'enemy,' because the Samaritans were frowned upon and despised,” the Pope said. “He approaches because his heart is tender, he is not hardened, he is capable of tenderness.”
The Holy Father went on to explain that “tenderness” is not “sentimentality,” it is “a trait of God's love that is needed today more than ever.”
In societies often polluted by a culture of indifference and of waste, he said that “as believers, we are called to go against the tide with a culture of tenderness, that is, of caring for others as God has cared for us: for me, for you, for each one of us.”
The secret of Christian life
The second thing that must never be forgotten, the Pope continued, is that “we truly love others to the extent that we recognize ourselves loved by Him, by our Lord and Saviour. “
He added that we can experience this in "the silence of prayer," when "we stand before Him as we are."
“There He can place His Spirit in our heart, He can give us His compassion and tenderness. And so we can move on. Not us - as St Paul would say - not us, but Him with us! This is the secret of the Christian life and, in a special way, of charitable service,” he said, concluding with words of closeness.
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