A Few Thoughts – Nov 29th

A few thoughts,

Today we begin Advent Time. For a world that is finding it difficult to heal from the pandemic and even more, the darkness that too often seems to dwell in the soul, Advent becomes a special invitation. We are invited to participate in the birth of a New Hope with the arrival of Christmas. In the fourth chapter of Fratelli Tutti, the invitation is extended to all of us with the clear-eyed observations of Pope Francis. If you have not done so, download the encyclical, then when you have a moment here or there, you will have it handy. www.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html. In the meantime, today we take up chapter 4.

Chapter 4: A Heart Open to the Whole World

“The true worth of the different countries of our world is measured by their ability to think not simply as a country but also as part of the larger human family (141).”

In this chapter, Pope Francis explores the moral and social implications of having a “heart open to the whole world.”

Pope Francis first considers immigration, explaining that until the conditions which force people to migrate are collectively addressed, nations should have a fundamental openness to welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating their “neighbor,” the migrant or refugee. Immigrants bringing new cultures into society should be regarded as a gift, and cultural differences should not be erased but celebrated.

Pope Francis describes how, especially in the era of globalization, “mutual assistance between countries proves enriching for each” (137). This is true in terms of cultural exchange and the cooperation which is needed to address poverty in parts of the world.

He calls for a “fraternal gratuitousness” that is not based merely on a commercial exchange but on true concern for the wellbeing of those in other nations.

Francis acknowledges the “innate tension between localization and globalization,” but says that each has its place. “We need to pay attention to the global so as to avoid narrowness and banality. Yet we also need to look to the local, which keeps our feet on the ground (142).” He says, “Universal fraternity and [local] social friendship are thus two in separable and equally vital poles in every society.”

Reflection Question:
How do you feel called to cultivate a “heart open to the whole world”?