June 23 2020
VATICAN CITY – The “pandemic must build tomorrow”. For this reason, “now is the time to treasure all this positive energy” testified by doctors, nurses, volunteers and priests, who testified “a generous and free love” even at the cost of life.
Pope Francis urged a group of doctors, nurses, health workers that he met June 20 at the papal audience. Most of them came from Lombardy, the Italian region most affected by the new coronavirus, but people from other regions were also present.
“We need to build tomorrow,” said the pontiff, “it requires everyone’s commitment, strength and dedication. It is a matter of starting again from the countless testimonies of generous and gratuitous love, which have left an indelible mark on the consciences and fabric of society, teaching how much there is need of closeness, care, sacrifice to nourish the fraternity and civil coexistence.
In this way, we will be able to get out of this crisis spiritually and morally stronger; and this depends on the conscience and responsibility of each of us “.
“God” he continued “created us for communion, for fraternity – and now more than ever, the claim to focus everything on oneself, to make individualism the guiding principle of society, has proved to be illusory.
“But be careful because, as soon as the emergency has passed, it is easy to fall back on this illusion. It is easy to quickly forget that we need others, someone who takes care of us, who gives us courage, forgetting that we all need a Father who holds out his hand. Praying to him, invoking him, is not an illusion; illusion is to think of doing without it! Prayer is the soul of hope.”
In his speech, the pope first of all recalled the testimonies given by doctors, nurses and health workers, who “have been a visible sign of humanity that warms the heart.” Many of them fell ill and some unfortunately died in the exercise of the profession, often accompanying the sick isolated from their families to the death threshold.
The pope called them “one of the pillars of the whole country”. “These health workers” he added “supported by the concern of the hospital chaplains, testified to God’s closeness to those who suffer; they have been silent artisans of the culture of proximity and tenderness”.
Francis ended his discourse recalling “the pastoral zeal and creative concern of the priests have helped people to continue on the path of faith and not to remain alone in the face of pain and fear”.
“I admired” he continued “the apostolic spirit of many priests, who remained beside their people in caring and daily sharing: they were a sign of the consoling presence of God. Unfortunately, many have died, but there are some who are healed”. He thanked them for having shown their courage and love to the people.