By Fr Nino Vinciguerra
Pope Francis in his latest encyclical calls us to the very foundation of what it means to be a human person, that we are all brothers and sisters, and that it is crucial to discern how this truth impacts on every sphere of our lives.
In chap six of Fratelli Tutti he explores Dialogue and Friendship in Society. The heroes of the future will be those who are committed to respectfully promoting a truthful and healthy dialogue.
“Approaching, speaking, listening, looking at, coming to know and understand one another, and to find common ground: all these things are summed up in the one word “dialogue”. If we want to encounter and help one another, we have to dialogue. There is no need for me to stress the benefits of dialogue. … persistent and courageous dialogue quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”
This intentional seeking together what is genuinely good for our world, what truthfully God wants for us all, is at the heart of discernment. Pope Francis reminds us that:
- Authentic social dialogue involves the ability to respect the other’s point of view and to admit that it may include legitimate convictions and concerns. Let us not forget that “differences are creative; they create tension and in the resolution of tension lies humanity’s progress”.
For example, in the field of science, … we are in need of greater interdisciplinary communication… Researchers who are expert in their own field, yet also familiar with the findings of other sciences and disciplines, are in a position to discern other aspects of the object of their study and thus to become open to a more comprehensive and integral knowledge of reality.
The media in today’s world has an enormous contribution to make… “the media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which in turn can inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all… We need constantly to ensure that present-day forms of communication are in fact guiding us to generous encounter with others, to honest pursuit of the whole truth, to service, to closeness to the underprivileged and to the promotion of the common good. As the Bishops of Australia have pointed out.
Pope Francis then explores in rich detail, our need to develop a Culture of Encounter, so that we can discern all the goodness that God desires for our world and concludes with this heartfelt prayer:
- I ask God “to prepare our hearts to encounter our brothers and sisters, so that we may overcome our differences rooted in political thinking, language, culture and religion. Let us ask him to anoint our whole being with the balm of his mercy, which heals the injuries caused by mistakes, misunderstandings and disputes. And let us ask him for the grace to send us forth, in humility and meekness, along the demanding but enriching path of seeking peace”.
Read and reflect on Fratelli Tutti, it has much that challenges but fundamentally is an inspiration and encouragement to discern the collaboration we are called to by our God.
The direct Link to Pope Francis’ document.