Pope: a world day of fasting and prayer for Lebanon

Called for September 4th. Card. Parolin will go to Beirut. In his coronavirus catechesis in the San Damaso courtyard, the value of solidarity. "A solidarity guided by faith allows us to translate the love of God into our globalized culture, not by building towers or walls – like the many being built today - which divide and then collapse, but by weaving communities and supporting processes of truly human and solid growth ".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis announced today a world day of prayer for Lebanon on Friday, September 4. He also appealed to the Lebanese people not to abandon "the message" of coexistence represented by the Middle Eastern country, thus badly injured by the explosion a month ago.

"One month after the tragedy - he said - my thoughts go to dear Lebanon and this severely tried population". "Lebanon - he added - cannot be abandoned to itself", it is "a country of hope" and "a place of tolerance, respect and coexistence unique in the region". "As John Paul II said, Lebanon represents something more than a state: it is a message of freedom, an example of pluralism for both the East and the West. We cannot allow this heritage to be lost”.

Towards the end of today's general audience, next to a flag of Lebanon held together with a Lebanese priest, the Pope continued: "I would like to invite everyone to experience a universal day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon, next Friday, September 4. I will send my representative to Lebanon that day to accompany the population. On that day the Secretary of State will go on my behalf. And he will go, to express my closeness and solidarity. We offer our prayers for all of Lebanon and for Beirut. We are also close through a concrete commitment of charity, as on other similar occasions. I also invite brothers and sisters of other confessions and religious traditions to join this initiative in the ways they deem most appropriate, but all together”.

Previously, in his catechesis, Francis had spoken of solidarity as the way to go after the crisis of the pandemic, because we emerge from all crises better or worse and "to emerge from this crisis better, we must do it together, all of us, in solidarity ".

"Solidarity and the virtue of faith" was the topic addressed by Pope Francis in today's general audience, in which he continued the cycle of catechesis on the theme: "Healing the world".

It was his first general audience "in the presence of faithful”- after almost six months in which they took place in the Library - with about 500 people gathered - spaced out and with masks - in the San Damaso Courtyard. Francis also said that at the beginning of the audience: "After so many months we resume our face-to-face meetings and not 'screen to screen', and this is nice".

"In an interconnected world - Francis observed - we experience what it means to live in the same 'global village', everything is interconnected, but we do not always transform this interdependence into solidarity. Selfishness - individual, national and of power groups - and ideological rigidities, on the contrary, feed "structures of sin" (ibid., 36).

"The word 'solidarity' is a little worn out and is sometimes misinterpreted, but it indicates much more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It requires creating a new mentality that thinks in terms of community, of the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by some "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 188). This means solidarity: this is good to do. It is not just a question of helping others: it is a question of justice (cf.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1938-1940). In order to be in solidarity and bear fruit, interdependence needs strong roots in the human being and in the nature created by God, it needs respect for faces and for the earth ".

Then taking a summary from the Gospel episode of Pentecost, read at the beginning of the audience, the Pope said that "with Pentecost, God makes himself present and inspires the faith of the community united in diversity and solidarity. A solidarity diversity possesses the 'antibodies' so that the singularity of each one - which is a unique and unrepeatable gift - does not fall ill with individualism, selfishness. Solidarity diversity also possesses the antibodies to heal social structures and processes that have degenerated into systems of injustice and oppression (cf. Compendium of the Church's Social Doctrine, 192). Therefore, solidarity today is the way to go towards a post-pandemic world, towards the healing of our interpersonal and social diseases. We do not emerge from a crisis the same as before. From a crisis we emerge better or worse, we have to choose. Better and not just a veneer".

"A solidarity guided by faith allows us to translate the love of God into our globalized culture, not by building towers or walls – like the many being built today - which divide and then collapse, but by weaving communities and supporting processes of truly human and solid growth. In the midst of crises and storms, the Lord challenges us and invites us to awaken and galvanise this solidarity capable of giving solidity, support and meaning to these hours in which everything seems to be wrecked. May the creativity of the Holy Spirit encourage us to generate new forms of family hospitality, fruitful fraternity and universal solidarity”.

Finally, in his greeting to the Poles, Francis recalled that "in recent days in Poland the 40th anniversary of the Agreements was celebrated which - starting from the solidarity of the oppressed - initiated the 'Solidarity' trade union and historical political changes in your country and in Central Europe