Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) – “Your association is non-confessional; however you have proposed to meet on this specific day, confirming that the tradition retains a certain significance for you”, said the Pope as he received in audience the members of the National Council of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually-Impaired, on the feast day of St. Lucy. Francis spoke about the human values the saint suggests, the first of which was courage. “We all need courage in order to face the challenges of life. … In particular, the blind and visually-impaired need courage in order not to close themselves up, not to assume a victim mentality, but rather to open themselves to reality, to others, to society; to learn how to recognise and make good use of the capabilities the Lord has given to each person, without exception”.
Another value suggested by St. Lucy, he continued, is “the fact that she was not alone, but rather was part of a community, a member of a body of which Christ was the head, a stone in the edifice of which Christ was the foundation. … An association is not the sum of the individuals that constitute it – it is much more. … To form a group, to be united, to meet up with one another, to share experiences and pool resources … all this is part of the civil patrimony of a group. And often people who live with disadvantages or disabilities can show everyone, with their experience, that we are not 'monads', we are not made to be isolated, but rather to relate to one another, to complete each other, to help, accompany and support each other”.
“Finally, St. Lucy tells us the life is made to be given away. She lived this in the extreme form of martyrdom, but the value of giving oneself is universal: it is the secret to true happiness. Humanity cannot be fully realised in having or even in doing; it is realised in loving, that is, the giving of oneself. And this may be understood as the secret of the name 'Lucy': a person is luminous to the extent that he or she is a gift for others. And every person, in reality, is a precious gift”. The Pope concluded by remarking that even today living according to these values can mean encountering incomprehension and the struggle of at times going against the grain, and that it is necessary to fight, with the example and intercession of St. Lucy. He encouraged those present to confront this challenge with courage and with the joy of doing so together.