On Monday morning, June 16, in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father met with the National Confederation for Mercy and the Fratres, Italian groups of blood donors. “All your service takes its meaning and form from this word: ‘mercy’, a Latin word whose etymological root is ‘miseris cor dare’, ‘to give one’s heart to the poor’. This is what Jesus did: he opened his heart wide to man’s suffering”. The Pope underlined that the Gospel shows clearly “the gratuity of His love for the suffering and the weak”, and “the closeness, goodness, the tenderness with which Jesus drew alongside the suffering and consoled them, brought them relief, and often healed them”.
He went on to emphasize that we too are called upon “to be close to and to share the conditions of the people we encounter. Our words, gestures and attitudes must express our solidarity, the desire not to remain removed from the pain of others, and must do so with fraternal warmth and without descending to any form of paternalism”. He continued, “there is the risk of being spectators, highly informed but detached from these realities, or of making beautiful speeches that conclude with verbal solutions but a lack of commitment with regard to real problems. Instead, we are required to let ourselves get involved in the human hardships that call out to us every day. Let us imitate Jesus: He went out on the streets and did not plan His encounters with the poor, or the sick, or the incapacitated who crossed His path; however, He stopped with the first He saw, offering succor, a sign of God’s closeness which is goodness, providence and love”.
Pope Francis commented that the activity of the Association is inspired by the seven works of corporal mercy: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, to bury the dead. “I encourage you to carry forth your activity with joy and to model it on that of Christ, ensuring that those who suffer may encounter you and depend upon you in their moment of need”.