Over the weekend, Pope Francis stressed the importance of fellowship between God and one another in a message of unity and gratitude.
“Now more than ever the claim to focus everything on ourselves is illusory – to make individualism the guiding principle of society has proved to be illusory,” Francis said on Saturday at the Vatican, according to the Catholic News Agency.
His audience included those hit the hardest by COVID-19 in Italy: physicians, healthcare workers, clerics, civil authorities and representatives of the mountain infantry from Lombardy.
The Pontifex cautioned that it would be easy to return “into this illusion” of individualism following the pandemic.
“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,” he shared.
Francis then asserted that praying to God is “not an illusion.”
He added, “Prayer is the soul of hope.”
The Pope then urged the people to rebuild together on a foundation of love.
“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,” he stated. “Not alone, however, but together and with the grace of God.”
Francis then offered his gratitude to healthcare workers for being “a visible sign of humanity that warms the heart.” He also paid tribute to healthcare workers who died from the novel coronavirus.
Francis echoed this sentiment on Twitter, writing, “Dear Doctors and Nurses, the world saw how much good you did in a very difficult situation. Even when you were exhausted, you continued dedicating yourselves with professionalism and self-sacrifice. This generates hope. My esteem and sincere thanks go to you!”
Dear Doctors and Nurses, the world saw how much good you did in a very difficult situation. Even when you were exhausted, you continued dedicating yourselves with professionalism and self-sacrifice. This generates hope. My esteem and sincere thanks go to you!— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 20, 2020
Furthermore, in his Saturday remarks, the Pope commended priests who continued to lead their communities despite lockdown restrictions which prevented in-person meetings.
“The pastoral zeal and creative concern of the priests helped people to continue the path of faith and not to remain alone in the face of pain and fear,” he said.
Throughout the pandemic, Lombardy had over 90,000 confirmed cases and over 16,000 deaths.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Giulio Origlia/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.