22 Mar 2017 Meeting the Pope
In December 2016 I had the chance to meet the Holy Father and exchange some thoughts with him.
The extraordinary feeling I felt on that occasion came back to my mind on March 5th while listening to the Pope’s Sunday sermon and his invitation to turn to the Bible as often as we use our mobile phones.
How would our lives be if we never forgot the Word of God? How different would our world be if we always kept in mind the message of love and solidarity enshrined in the Holy Bible? What if we read the Gospel message as frequently as we read the messages on our mobiles?
When approaching the Pope to shake his hand and talk to him, I almost had the feeling I was meeting a friend, a beloved person. Pope Francis’ biggest gift lies in his ability to behave with spontaneity and simplicity; a man among men, a man among us.
On that occasion he encouraged me to continue the mission my family had launched in 2014 through the creation of MOAS. He also urged me to increase our commitment towards migrants, as they are our vulnerable brothers and sisters who risk their life at sea. Moreover, he highlighted the importance of prayers as an intimate bond with God, and a bridge between our life and the Holy Scripture.
Prayers keep the message of love and brotherhood alive every day, reinvigorating them in our hearts. This bridge made of love, hope and actions helps us in protecting our humanity and avoiding indifference to others.
“Ora et labora”
When we founded MOAS we aimed to use our talents to help our brothers and sisters, aiming to fight against the globalization of indifference. We welcomed the appeal Pope Francis launched in Lampedusa in 2013, in which he encouraged everyone to make their own contributions to save those who risk their life in search of a better future.
Sloth and indifference are the real perils of our millennium. We cannot just look on at the biggest humanitarian catastrophe since World War II. We cannot ignore the suffering of those who flee extreme violence, persecution or starvation.
By meditating on the Holy Scripture we can retrieve the origin of mankind created by God in His own image.
How can we accept that other human beings – all created in image of God like me, like us – are tortured, injured and humiliated because they are born in the wrong part of the world? Or because they have a different skin colour, religion or sexual orientation?
In our fast-paced modern world, prayers represent an intimate and unique occasion to know ourselves and restore silence amid the chaos. It is in this silence that we can hear the voice of God, calling us to act as His sons and daughters.
MOAS’ Co-Founder and Director