Family does not know what religious discrimination is; it only knows how to share the joys and sorrows of everyday life; it does not live on conflicts, as nations do, but on good neighborly relations and mutual help; it does not know or see the enmity of the rulers, but shares the bread of friendship in the need for solidarity.
If there is a spiritual crisis, the solution must be spiritual too; that is, we have to approach it with the principles of brotherhood, communion, sincere and industrious closeness that allow us to take history by the hand and not to deliver it to violent oblivion and that new modern paganism, represented by indifference – as Pope Francis taught yesterday – which is dramatically affecting the younger generation, our children who are becoming more and more orphans of fathers and fatherhood, in the service of history.
We need to pray for it, as it recently happened in Assisi. Those who pray meet God and the others. The culture of encounter, so strongly recommended by Pope Francis, is born in those who know how to cultivate prayer as the main and foolproof way to build a new world.
Now, you need to have a broad, full, and inexhaustible vision of prayer. No man has ever scrutinized the boundaries of prayer. It is a constant process of clearing from spiritual evil for the entire human family. Those who open to experience the knowledge typical of great religions will perceive straight away that what really unites them, is the fullness of search for God through means of the spiritual activity believers call prayer.
We have had yet another confirmation of it during the Encounter in the “spirit of Assisi”, which ended on Tuesday, September 20 with the presence of Pope Francis. Prayer is like life. Despite all the attempts of science and technology, rather than being defined, it must be lived. Only those who pray learn to live: we know like human beings, we recognize like persons, learn to recognize that the other is always a gift, never a problem because of their diversity.
Yes, to truly live, we must pray, because nothing teaches us to cherish the love we have received and to give love more than prayer. Prayer is the best source of extroversion and escape from yourself you could wish for; it is the best school of public relations, because who learns how to speak to God, knows also how to speak to men.
In their own family, one certainly learns to pray faster than in other places dedicated to religious instruction. Looking at young people, one of the major mistakes that our generation of “fathers” is committing is precisely that they no longer want to invest in spirituality as a source of common good, spirituality intended as a true source of human sociality.
In prayer there is the secret of true humanism, of a “spiritual humanism”, which includes God, does not exclude Him from history using a jurisprudence, science, or a technological device that defies creation, creatures, or the Creator.
Only prayer does not deform Man, but recreates him, as it happened the day when he was first created. It does not only stop wars and obtain miracles. It improves us, makes us capable of a higher and deep thought; capable of interiority in a time that is cloaked in externality all too often.
We must believe that men and women of prayer are the true scholars, rulers, deliverers on earth. They are the largest reserve of hope for our world, an inexhaustible reserve of divine and human wisdom. They are the ambassadors of love and peace, who run through history, opening it to new paths of the Spirit and of God.
They are the true defenders of the most authentic values of humanity, because it is in prayer that consciousness wants the true good, true freedom, and makes the earth become a place of brotherhood and shared love.
Peace is nourished by the thoughts, desires, and resolutions of the heart – even before our mind -, of a “pure heart.” Nothing has the power than prayer to keep our hearts pure from all evil thoughts that lurk, as taught by Jesus himself: it is not history that contaminates man’s heart, but the heart of man when it does not remain pure.
A “heartless” man is a man without love nor religion, because ultimately atheism is living without a heart. Heartless politics is atheism; heartless economy is atheism; heartless culture is atheism; heartless human solidarity is atheism; a heartless family is atheism. Because “God is love.” A humble and humiliated love – Pope Francis teaches us every day, who continues to be crucified in the families that live around us, who lack everything, they lose everything, they invoke one merciful glance and our renewed commitment, stronger and participated.
Now it is up to us to pray and work. Giving prayer a contemporary incarnation, intelligent, and operational. If a family wants us, it follows that a house wants us too! The house does not merely host a family, it is a signal that a family existence in the first place. The house is not just a living space, it is a place where all the neighborhood relations are born and lived. Love teaches you to love; life teaches you to live; being a family is something you learn staying inside a family.
A house, the Pope’s house for all the families of the world. A kind of “original house” of many other homes and centers that will arise in other strategic places in the world, as humanity garrison, as a platform for humanitarian projects dedicated to different emergencies family suffers (mention Lebanon and Jordan).
In the meantime, we have begun to build a house in Nazareth, under the gaze of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In Nazareth, the place where it all began and where everything can start over again. One of the most peaceful places in the Holy Land, the city preserved by God, where 35% of Christians reside, compared to rates below 1.5% in other cities of Israel. A record that shows us the vitality of the tradition of the Christian family and coexistence between Christians and Muslims, but also Jews; a story that can infect families around the world with a new love for life.
A wonderful challenge that contains also a great opportunity to ensure that around the topic of the family can be found, starting from the Holy Land, a new unity of purpose and of deeds in a territory where, we need to build on behalf of Pope Francis a bridge between religions, a bridge built for families, where, let us not forget, unfortunately, a wall has been built.
Report by Salvatore Martinez, president of the Vatican Foundation Family of Nazareth, read during the conference: “The mother of all crises is spiritual!”