I welcome you to Rome, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Lazare association. I thank your representative for his kind words. I greet everyone with affection and, through you, I express my spiritual closeness to all the members of your association from different countries.
I thank God for the beautiful experience you have in living together and in fraternity on a daily basis. You have here an opportunity to be, not only for yourself but also for the world, a showcase of the social friendship that we are all called to live. In an environment strewn with indifference, individualism and selfishness, you make us understand that the values of an authentic life are to be found in welcoming differences, respect for human dignity, listening, attention to the other and the service of the most humble. Indeed, “the love of the other for himself leads us to seek the best for his life. Only by cultivating these kinds of relationships will we make it possible inclusive social friendship and a fraternity open to all ” (1).
In society, you may feel isolated, rejected and suffer from exclusion. But don’t give up, don’t be discouraged. Go forward, cultivating in the heart the hope of contagious joy (2). Your life testimony reminds us that “ the poor are true evangelizers because they were the first to be evangelized and called to share the happiness of the Lord and of his Kingdom ” (3).
Dear friends, I invite you to stand firm in your convictions and in your faith. You are the loving face of Christ. Spread around you this fire of love which warms cold and arid hearts. Do not be satisfied only with a life of friendship and sharing between the members of your association, but go beyond. Dare to bet on love given and received for free. Go to the outskirts often filled with loneliness, sadness, inner wounds and loss of the taste for life. By your words and deeds, pour the oil of consolation and healing on sore hearts. Never forget it: you are the gift, the present day of God, you have a special place in his loving heart. Even if the world looks down on you with contempt, you are valuable, you mean a lot in the sight of the Lord. I would like to say it again: God loves you, you are his privileged. So do not let yourself be robbed of the joy of living and of supporting others.
Entrusting each of you and your families to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, I cordially grant you the Apostolic Blessing as well as to your leaders here present and to the members of the Association spread throughout the world.
Please don’t forget to pray for me.
French version of the Holy See Press Room. Title of The DC. (1) cf. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti – On Fraternity and Social Friendship, October 3, 2020,n. 94
(2) cf. Pope François, Exhortation of the Apostle and the Joy of the Gospel, 24 November 2013, n. 88 (3) Pope Francis,Message on the occasion of the 5th World Day of the Poor
, June 13, 2021.