“European peoples has to receive the hungry and to strangers as if they were brothers”. Pope Francis takes his cue from an audience at the Romano Guardini Foundation to launch a new appeal. Speaking about the great German theologian, the Pope stresses that in the people, as in a mirror, we recognize the strength of divine action. “There is no sin on earth – nor can there be any – which God does not forgive to those who do not repent sincerely”. During the meeting, Francis takes on a passage from Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, on which the theologian and philosopher focuses in his book. It is the passage in which an emaciated woman peasant visits a starec, a Russian priest, to confess after having killed her husband who mistreated her.
“The woman is closed in herself, but – the Holy Father emphasizes – the priest shows a way out. As she confesses, the woman transforms and receives new hope. The most simple people understand what it means. They are rapt by the greatness that shines in the wisdom and the strength of starec’s love. They understand what is holiness, that is, a life lived in faith, while being able to see that God is close to men and that He holds their lives in His hands”.
Francis dwelt on the category of people present in Guardini’s thought, who are considered to be a mirror in which to recognize “the force field of divine action: he understands the concept of people clearly distinguished from Enlightened rationalism which considers as real only what can be grasped by reason and which tends to isolate the man, who is ripped out from this vital natural relationship. The people, on the other hand, means the compendium of what is genuine, deep, and substantial in human beings”.
Here, the Pope takes the opportunity to launch a new appeal to the Old Continent to welcome migrants with generosity. “So we can recognize that God, in His wisdom, has sent to us who are in the rich Europe, the hungry so we can feed him, the thirsty so we give him to drink, the stranger so we can welcome him, and the naked so we can dress him. History will show: if we are a people, we will certainly welcome him as our brother; if we are only a group of more or less organized individuals, we will be tempted to save our skin first, but we will not have continuity”.