Br. Massimo Fusarelli invites the whole Order to celebrate the World Day of the Poor with concrete gestures proposed by Pope Francis
I ask myself, listening to my conscience and the voice of the Lord, and I do so with each one of you:
- To what extent am I aware that meeting the poor is at the heart of my life as a friar minor in the footsteps of Jesus, “He, who was rich above all others, (and) wanted to choose in this world, together with the most blessed Virgin, poverty” (2LFI, 5: FF182)?
- How many times have I had a meeting, a shared experience with the poor in a concrete fashion? Do I feel that this has “bothered” me and I have begun again my journey? Or otherwise?
- Do I often defend myself thinking that this is a dimension which is more social and less religious? Though according to the prophets in the Scriptures, aren’t the poor the mirror in which we look if we are still believers? God loved them and wished that his Son be one of them. The same goes for the Apostles and for the friends of the Lord throughout history, not least with St. Francis, St. Clare and St. Elizabeth. Will meeting the real face of some poor people and their real suffering, with their smell and sometimes unpleasant presence, together with the questions they ask of us, finally move us both emotionally and physically? Will they lead us to convert? Will they make us come out of our, often too comfortable, dens?
For this, as your minister and servant and in communion with the General Definitory, after prayerful consideration I am asking in this letter that all the friars in the Order and in the different fraternities of the world, to make time during the month of November for a concrete meeting with the poor. Not on their own, but as a fraternity, at least two by two (see Luke 10,1), in order to have a simple meeting of presence, closeness and service for one of them, knocking at their door, as the Holy Father wrote in his message for this 5th World Poor Day.
“I ask you in the name of St. Francis: let us try to take this step towards the poor in the month of November and we will be surprised by the outcome! The Lord goes ahead of us and awaits us on this journey: let us choose a gesture, let us go to a house, a hospice, the friars’ infirmary, a prison, a hospital, a migrant centre, an area of the periphery, a welcome centre or so many other places to see Christ in his vicars, the poor. And let us allow ourselves to be found by Him, who wishes to attract us still and to light up our lives“
On 14th November the 5th World Day of the Poor will be celebrated and just two days before that on Friday 12th November, Pope Francis will be a pilgrim at the Portiuncola, in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, to meet 500 poor people, coming from different parts of Europe, to listen to and converse with them.
Cover Photo: Yael Portabales – Cathopic