A Few Thoughts – Nov 22nd

A few thoughts,

I hope you have been finding hope, inspiration, and more than a challenge in the first two chapters of Fratelli Tutti. I know that with busy lives, to sit and crunch down on a papal letter can be quite a bite to chew on. However, remember you can access the full encyclical for free at: www.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html. In the meantime, I will continue to post the guide to the letter. Today we take up chapter 3.

Chapter 3: Envisaging and Engendering an Open World

“All of us, as believers, need to recognize that love takes first place: love must never be put at risk, and the greatest danger lies in failing to love (92).”

This chapter presents the pope’s teaching about love, which is essential to his approach to fraternity and social friendship. “The spiritual stature of a person’s life is measured by love,” he writes (92). This love must grow beyond family and nation to include strangers and all people — into a friendship where the worth of every person is acknowledged.

Fraternity grows into a universal love that promotes others when human connections are consciously cultivated through education in dialogue in order to defeat the “virus” of “radical individualism,” as well as recognition of the values of reciprocity and mutual enrichment. Based on universal love and recognition of the inherent dignity of every person, we have an obligation to ensure that every person has sufficient opportunities for integral development. Francis says this requires a “re-envisioning of the social role of property” to ensure each person has what is necessary to live with dignity.

The right to private property, Pope Francis says, “can only be considered a secondary natural right” to the “universal destination of all goods,” or the idea that God’s gift of creation belongs to all. This principle applies to the international sphere as well, where “a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere (124).”

Reflection Question:
In what ways can your local community put human dignity at the center of social and economic life?