Vatican City, 15 June 2014 (VIS) – On Sunday afternoon the Pope visited the Sant'Egidio Community in the Roman quarter of Trastevere. In his address, he commented that prayer “preserves the anonymous man of the city from the temptations that may also be ours: the 'protagonism' of those who think that the world revolves around them, indifference, victimism. Prayer is the first task of your Community, and consists of listening to the Word of God, the bread that gives us strength and enables us to go forth. … He who looks to the Lord, sees others. You too have learned to see others, in particular the poorest among you; and I hope that you will be able to live out what Professor Riccardi has described – that is, that among you, you forget who gives and who receives help. A care that slowly ceases to be 'care' and transforms into encounter and embrace. … Who is at the centre of this? Both, or rather, the embrace itself”.
The Holy Father rejoiced to see many elderly among those present, and commented on the importance of the alliance between the young and the elderly, in which everyone receives and gives. “A population who does not care for the elderly and does not care for the young is a population without future, a people without hope. Because the young – children, young people – and the elderly are those who carry history forth. The young with their natural strength, and the elderly, providing their memory. But when a society loses its memory, it is finished”. The Pope also spoke against the “throwaway culture”, which currently afflicts Europe - “a tired Europe that doesn't know what to do”. “We must rejuvenate her and help her to find her roots. It is true that she has disavowed her roots, but we must help her to rediscover them”. He affirmed that change in society starts with the poor and the elderly. “Nowadays, unfortunately, the speculative economy has made the poor ever poorer, depriving them of the essentials for life, such as a home and employment. This is unacceptable! Those who live in solidarity with others do not accept this and react. It seems that many people would prefer to remove this word 'solidarity' from the dictionary, as within a certain culture it can seem almost like a profanity. No! Solidarity is a Christian word!”.
The Pope encouraged all those who collaborate with the Community from other countries to be friends of God, of the poor, and of peace, “because those who live in this way find blessings in life and will be a blessing for others”. Before concluding, he emphasised again the need for prayer and dialogue, but always starting out from one's own identity. “Go forth along this road: prayer, the poor, and peace. In this way you will help compassion grow in the heart of society – which is the true revolution, that of compassion and tenderness – and help friendship to grown instead of enmity and indifference”.