01/08/2019, 15.12
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Pope: Mother Teresa, model of gratuitous love for anyone who suffers

Message from Francis for the next day of the sick that this year is celebrated in solemn form in Calcutta. " Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, of those unborn and those abandoned and discarded."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Following the example of Mother Teresa, the attitude towards those who suffer must be "gratuitous love for all without distinction of language, culture, ethnicity or religion". The gratuitousness, typical of voluntary service, and the gift, which "can only be said to be true if it is giving oneself" are at the center of Pope Francis' message for the 27th World Day of the sick, which occurs on 11 February, and that this year is celebrated in solemn form in Calcutta, India, with the theme "You received without payment; give without payment" (Mt 10: 8)

In the document Francis recalls first of all that " generous gestures like that of the Good Samaritan are the most credible means of evangelization. The care of the sick person needs professionalism and tenderness, free, immediate and simple gestures like caress, through which he makes himself felt to the other person who is 'dear' ".

"Amid today’s culture of waste and indifference, I would point out that “gift” is the category best suited to challenging today’s individualism and social fragmentation, while at the same time promoting new relationships and means of cooperation between peoples and cultures. Dialogue – the premise of gift – creates possibilities for human growth and development capable of breaking through established ways of exercising power in society. “Gift” means more than simply giving presents: it involves the giving of oneself, and not simply a transfer of property or objects. “Gift” differs from gift-giving because it entails the free gift of self and the desire to build a relationship. It is the acknowledgement of others, which is the basis of society. “Gift” is a reflection of God’s love, which culminates in the incarnation of the Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit".

Man, the Pope writes, "will always be conscious of our limitations, as “creatures”, before other individuals and

situations. A frank acknowledgement of this truth keeps us humble and spurs us to practice solidarity as an essential virtue in life".

Mother Teresa was a model of this attitude, of whom the Pope recalls the figure "in this circumstance of the solemn celebration in India". "As I noted at her canonization, “Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a

generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, of those unborn and those abandoned and discarded… She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created. For Mother Teresa, mercy was the ‘salt’ which gave flavour to her work; it was the ‘light’ that shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering. Her mission to the urban and existential

peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor” (Homily, 4 September 2016).

The message also highlights the importance of volunteers "who have so much importance in the social-health sector and who live in an eloquent way the spirituality of the Good Samaritan". In thanking and encouraging all voluntary associations, Francis states that " is a good friend with whom one can share personal thoughts and emotions; by their patient listening, volunteers make it possible for the sick to pass from being passive recipients of care to being active participants in a relationship that can restore hope and inspire openness to further treatment. Volunteer work passes on values, behaviors and ways of living born of a deep desire to be generous. It is also a means of making health care more humane".

The last point of the document is the affirmation that "the dimension of gratuity should animate especially the Catholic health structures". " We know that health is relational, dependent on interaction with others, and requiring trust, friendship and solidarity. It is a treasure that can be enjoyed fully only when it is shared. The joy of generous giving is a barometer of the health of a Christian".

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