Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
By Carol Glatz – Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With God’s light, Christians learn to look within themselves with truth and look upon others with love, Pope Francis said.
Inspired by Christ, people can look at the world with a new pair of eyes to see others “not as obstacles to overcome, but as brothers and sisters to welcome,” he said in an audience at the Vatican Nov. 12.
The pope was meeting with members of the Guanellian Family, a group of individuals and associations inspired by the life and charism of St. Louis Guanella, the Italian founder the Servants of Charity, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence and the Confraternity of St. Joseph.
Meeting some 5,000 members on a pilgrimage to Rome, Pope Francis told them that if he were to imagine what their founder — who died in 1915 — would tell them today, he said it would be “to trust, look and hurry.”
People have to trust in the fact that God cannot help but love his children no matter what, he said.
“If we are distant from him, we are longed for; when we draw close, we are embraced; if we fall, he picks us up; if we are repentant, he forgives.”
God feels bad when his children do not trust completely in him and do not believe he wants only what is best for them, the pope said.
Fears or doubts that God is distant or a cruel master, who asks too much or creates great ordeals, he said, are “a great deception” sown by the devil who likes to “conceal what’s real and disguise the good as evil.”
People are tempted to keep their distance from God because they’re afraid his fatherly nature may not truly be loving and good, he said.
When people trust in God and see themselves as children who are loved, then they “learn to look at the world with new eyes, made brighter by love and hope.”
Such eyes let people see “inside themselves with truth and to see far away with charity,” he said.
In fact, of all the problems, injustices and new forms of poverty in the world, the biggest shortage facing humanity right now, he said, is charity and love.
“Sometimes our spiritual vision is nearsighted because we cannot see beyond our own selves. Other times we are farsighted: We like to help those who are far away, but we are not able to stoop down to help those next to us. Sometimes, however, we prefer to close our eyes because we are tired, overwhelmed by pessimism.”
Lastly, the pope said, Christians must hurry. Just like Mary ran in haste to help her cousin Elizabeth, “we, too, listen for the Spirit’s invitation to go immediately to those who need our care and affection.”
The pope reminded them that St. Guanella used to say, “Misery cannot wait. We can never stop as long as there are poor to be assisted.”