Three weeks ago I introduced Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which in English means “we are all brothers and sisters.” Two weeks ago, we took a look at Chapter 1: Dark Clouds Over a Closed World. 

Hope message on the beach sand.

Chapter 1 is pretty negative. In it, our Holy Father details the world’s ills, including aggressive nationalism, toxic politics, empty individualism, racism, a throwaway world, an absence of human dignity on the borders, rampant inequality, and “information without wisdom”. Chapter 1 is a tough read, but an important one, because we have to recognize our ills before we can begin to address them.

Fortunately, the first chapter concludes with a section entitled Hope:

Despite these dark clouds, which may not be ignored, I would like in the following pages to take up and discuss many new paths of hope. For God continues to sow abundant seeds of goodness in our human family. The recent pandemic enabled us to recognize and appreciate once more all those around us who, in the midst of fear, responded by putting their lives on the line. We began to realize that our lives are interwoven with and sustained by ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caretakers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious… They understood that no one is saved alone.

I invite everyone to renewed hope, for hope “speaks to us of something deeply rooted in every human heart, independently of our circumstances and historical conditioning. Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfillment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love… Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile”. Let us continue, then, to advance along the paths of hope.

What a wonderful conclusion to the first chapter! I don’t know about you, but I am now ready to dig into the remaining chapters. How about you? Read it for yourself at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html.

Working together, we can help take care of our common home. 
Paul Litwin

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