Yesterday, I had the pleasure of leading a discussion group on the first 55 paragraphs of Pope Francis’ most recent publication, Fratelli Tutti. While I have yet to completely read this lengthy document, he has some very interesting ideas in this section.
He addresses this document to a worldwide population. His thesis is set in promoting the idea of a world culture founded in familial love. He notes that readers who are not Christian might think that he is seeking to indoctrinate others in Christian principles, but he points out that love is incidentally a Christian principal. Everyone would benefit from a world that was more accepting and inclusive. While I am skeptical of ever achieving this goal because sin isn’t going away until Jesus’ return, ideals have the ability of setting a bar, and even if one person embraces some of these principles, the world would be a better place.
On that note, I intend to lay out some of his thoughts over the next couple of days for your reflection. The idea is that the Holy Spirit can help us use these themes to see where we are being called to change behavior in order to become more loving. In addition, with the beginning of the Lenten season fast approaching, some of these thoughts may help us see things we can “give up” to help us build habits that will make the world a more loving place.
One of the themes in this first chapter is integration. He is speaking at a worldwide level, but we are going to take it down to the personal. In this section, he sees the world as having moved in the direction of integration over the last few decades, but he sees a troubling trend that points to a regression on this point.
One example that comes to mind is the image of the Body of Christ. Our world is heavily focused on individualism, and maybe there are ways that we can better connect with each other in order to further the goals of the Body of Christ.
A second example is rooted in the idea of isolation during the pandemic. I doubt I am the only one who has, at times, used it as an excuse to be less connected.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit reflecting on your life. Ask him to help you see where you might be backing off from being more connected with other people. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways of maintaining proper boundaries, while still being open to all types of people. Feel free to share your thoughts for the benefit of others.