FRATELLI TUTTI BY POPE FRANCIS
Fratelli Tutti means ‘Brothers all,’ it is derived by Pope Francis from his guru Saint Francis of Assisi who considered everything as a being that is related to him. If you read his canticle you come to know that St. Francis calls the sun his brother, and the moon and the stars his sister etc. So, Pope Francis takes the title from the saint. The encyclical speaks of fraternity and social friendship or perhaps just more than this.
The Pope refers to the pandemic as something unfortunate that has happened but he notifies that the world has always been sick. And we need to heal it. He writes in the encyclical, “In today’s world, the sense of belonging to a single human family is fading, and the dream of working together for justice and peace seems an outdated utopia. What reigns instead is a cool, comfortable and globalised indifference, born of deep disillusionment concealed behind a deceptive illusion: thinking that we are all-powerful while failing to realise that we are all in the same boat.”
The world is sick as we see women being raped every single day. The rich prioritizing themselves as against the poor, leading to the divide growing larger and bigger. We have become individualistic that when we go to the supermarket, for instance, we pick up things and hoard them for ourselves rather than considering the people who would need them the most. Being charitable has taken a beating during these days, although we had seen it spiking high in the wake of the pandemic. We have prioritized ourselves as we want to save ourselves from being affected. We have turned less spiritual and are hardly concerned about our neighbour.
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Pope Francis repeatedly draws our attention towards the Good Samaritan who decided to help the neighbour in need. Who decided to listen to the neighbour who was wounded. Are our ears and minds open enough to listen and feel the cry of the poor?
The most vital thing that we ought to do according to Pope Francis is that we need to have an encounter with our neighbour. The very thing we try to escape from. Having an encounter is of prime importance. Because that makes us part and parcel of the life of the other, It makes us delve deeper into the realities that the other person is going through. It gives us the larger picture which remains hidden almost most of the times.
Our political and social structure needs an alteration which we hardly speak about. He says, “Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others.” The governance must think and adhere to keeping up with the common good of the people concretely. So every policy that is made by the government must be focused upon this aim of propagating the good of our neighbour and not just one person with power. The resources that the government has must be equally and systematically shared by the people in power and not grabbed by one or two in power. Not just in mere words but deeds.
A practice of our faith that we boast of must be done more seriously and evidently. “Belief in God and the worship of God are not enough to ensure that we are actually living in a way pleasing to God. A believer may be untrue to everything that his faith demands of him, and yet think he is close to God and better than others. The guarantee of an authentic openness to God, on the other hand, is a way of practising the faith that helps open our hearts to our brothers and sisters. Saint John Chrysostom expressed this pointedly when he challenged his Christian hearers: “Do you wish to honour the body of the Saviour? Do not despise it when it is naked. Do not honour it in church with silk vestments while outside it is naked and numb with cold”. Paradoxically, those who claim to be unbelievers can sometimes put God’s will into practice better than believers.”
Pope Francis also notifies that we must appreciate our cultures. Rather than considering certain cultures as absolute and universal. We must learn to appreciate the cultures that are present and try to enhance them with our valid, authentic, and creative contributions. It is natural to at times consider that my culture is better than the other’s culture. But it is also important to realize that the other’s culture is also appreciable and of worth.
Collaboration, a sense of responsibility and acceptance, fraternal correction and appreciation, sensitivity will bring us closer to being a Good Samaritan that the Lord wants us to be. There may be differences but we need to become united beings in the Lord.
We can all be Good Samaritans only if we infuse love in our actions. Pope Francis rightly reminds us that, “It is an act of charity to assist someone suffering, but it is also an act of charity, even if we do not know that person, to work to change the social conditions that caused his or her suffering.” So irrespective of who the other person is to us we need to continuously be messengers of hope and love.
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