The dignity of man… We talk about it when it is threatened, and there is no shortage of opportunities at the moment. Let us also look at her when she is exalted. It is illustrated in the human being’s ability to stand upright, even in the face of trial or threat. Images or phrases come to mind: the Ukrainian people still standing, a woman standing up to demand justice. There are so many. Until the presence of Mary, standing at the foot of the cross, stabat mater, as Latin tells us.
This sign of dignity is also a sign of power: the man standing facing the camera, the army leader standing in front of a parade of his troops, etc. This is undoubtedly how the Messiah was imagined reigning in his Kingdom: standing.
But Jesus Christ takes, throughout the Gospels, a completely different royal posture. Get on your knees to take care. In a way, lowering yourself so that you can meet those who are down.
The clash of arms in the Middle East caused the 7th World Day of the Poor, last Sunday, November 19, to go unnoticed. But the reality is there. In our world, there is a people kneeling under the weight of precariousness: 700 million people live on less than €2.15 per day, the threshold which defines extreme poverty. Certainly the relative share of extreme poverty in the world population is decreasing. But 700 million people is not a negligible quantity. In France, Secours catholique, in its annual report made public two weeks ago, noted the harmful consequences of inflation on the standard of living of people hosted in its centers. More than half live on less than €18 per day.
The ambient culture is doubly misleading. First, to everyone and particularly to young people, it holds out the promise of the happiness of possessions, which is a mirage. Then, she skillfully maintains the veil placed over the poor and needy who we do not see. In his message for the 7th World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis warned: “Haste, a daily companion of life, prevents us from stopping, helping and caring for others. »
You must therefore know how to get down on your knees, as thousands of volunteers do during their marauding. As Christ did at the feet of his disciples. As Francis says in this same message, “we are called to encounter every poor person and every type of poverty, shaking off from us the indifference and evidence with which we protect an illusory well-being.”