Place of Conversion

In April 2020 Pope Francis, responding to online questions from The Tablet (a UK Catholic weekly), wrote thoughtfully on a variety of issues. In to reporter Austen Ivereigh's translation "Pope Francis says pandemic can be a 'place of conversion'":

... How am I living this spiritually? I'm praying more, because I feel I should. And I think of people. That's what concerns me: people. Thinking of people anoints me, it does me good, it takes me out of my self-preoccupation. ... I'm living this as a time of great uncertainty. It's a time for inventing, for creativity.

... and:

... What comes to my mind is a verse from the Aeneid in the midst of defeat: the counsel is not to give up, but save yourself for better times, for in those times remembering what has happened will help us. Take care of yourselves for a future that will come. And remembering in that future what has happened will do you good. Take care of the now, for the sake of tomorrow. Always creatively, with a simple creativity, capable of inventing something new each day. ...

... and:

... we're realising that all our thinking, like it or not, has been shaped around the economy. In the world of finance it has seemed normal to sacrifice [people], to practise a politics of the throwaway culture, from the beginning to the end of life. ... We see it in the way people are selected according to their utility or productivity: the throwaway culture. ...

... and:

... What comes to mind is another verse of Virgil's: [forsan et haec olim] meminisse iubavit ["perhaps one day it will be good to remember these things too"]. We need to recover our memory because memory will come to our aid. This is not humanity's first plague; the others have become mere anecdotes. We need to remember our roots, our tradition which is packed full of memories. ... This crisis is affecting us all, rich and poor alike, and putting a spotlight on hypocrisy. I am worried by the hypocrisy of certain political personalities who speak of facing up to the crisis, of the problem of hunger in the world, but who in the meantime manufacture weapons. This is a time to be converted from this kind of functional hypocrisy. It's a time for integrity. Either we are coherent with our beliefs or we lose everything. ...

... and:

... Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity: the opportunity to move out from the danger. Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption ... and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. We need to reconnect with our real surroundings. This is the opportunity for conversion. Yes, I see early signs of an economy that is less liquid, more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, let us not file it away and go back to where we were. This is the time to take the decisive step, to move from using and misusing nature to contemplating it. We have lost the contemplative dimension; we have to get it back at this time. ...

... and:

... This is the moment to see the poor. Jesus says we will have the poor with us always, and it's true. They are a reality we cannot deny. But the poor are hidden, because poverty is bashful. In Rome recently, in the midst of the quarantine, a policeman said to a man: "You can't be on the street, go home." The response was: "I have no home. I live in the street." To discover such a large number of people who are on the margins ... And we don't see them, because poverty is bashful. They are there but we don't see them: they have become part of the landscape; they are things. ... To "see" the poor means to restore their humanity. They are not things, not garbage; they are people. ... This is the time to go to the underground. I'm thinking of Dostoyevsky's short novel, Notes from the Underground. The employees of that prison hospital had become so inured they treated their poor prisoners like things. And seeing the way they treated one who had just died, the one on the bed alongside tells them: "Enough! He too had a mother!" We need to tell ourselves this often: that poor person had a mother who raised him lovingly. Later in life we don't know what happened. But it helps to think of that love he once received through his mother's hope. ...

... and:

... What we are living now is a place of metanoia (conversion), and we have the chance to begin. So let's not let it slip from us, and let's move ahead.

(found via the essay by Steven Paulikas cited in Emptiness Blessings (2020-07-20), ...) - ^z - 2020-08-07