Change is healthy, and one needs to change in order to be faithful both to God and to man, Pope Francis said in a video message to a 4-day Italian workshop on the social doctrine of the Church. The Pope’s message inaugurated the 5th Social Doctrine Festival, Thursday evening in the northern city of Verona. The event is discussing the theme of “Fidelity and Change” with regard to issues such as labour, justice, economy and culture.
Word of God helps change
The Pope pointed out that the Word of God helps us in distinguishing the two faces of change. The first is fidelity, hope in and openness to new things; the second is the difficulty of leaving a secure place for something unknown. He noted we feel more secure within our fence, preserving and repeating our usual words and gestures. But this prevents us from going out and starting new processes.
“In order to be faithful one must have the capacity to change” and launch out, the Pope said, holding out the figure of Abraham, who in his old age heeded the Lord’s command and left his homeland for a new land. The Lord’s call radically changed Abraham’s life, made him enter a new history and opened unexpected horizons for him with new heavens and new earths. Likewise, when one responds to God, the Pope pointed out, a process begins that leads to something unexpected we never imagined before.
Fidelity to man, the Pope explained, means going out of ourselves to meet a concrete person, to open our eyes and heart to the poor, the sick, the jobless, the refugees fleeing violence and war, and the many who are wounded by indifference and by an economy that discards and kills. Fidelity to man, he stressed, means overcoming the centripetal force of one’s interests and egoism and giving way to the passion for others.
In this way, the Pope said, fidelity to God and fidelity to man converge into a dynamic movement that changes us and the reality, overcoming “immobilism and convenience”, creating space and work for young people and their future. Hence change is healthy not only when things go badly but also when everything goes well and we are tempted to sit back over results achieved.