Rediscover importance of small gestures, implores Francis

People under COVID-19 lockdown and isolated in their homes should take advantage of the time they have with their families, says Pope Francis.

Francis pleads we “rediscover” the importance of “small, concrete gestures expressing closeness and concreteness toward the people closest to us, a caress for our grandparents, a kiss for our children, for the people we love.

“If we live these days like this, they won’t be wasted,” he says.

“We must understand that in small things lies our treasure.”

“These gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion are minimal and tend to be lost in the anonymity of everyday life, but they are nonetheless decisive, important.”

‘For example, a hot meal, a caress, a hug, a phone call…. They are familiar gestures of attention to the details of everyday life that make life meaningful and that create communion and communication amongst us.”

Sometimes in families “we only experience a virtual form of communication with one another,” Francis acknowledges.

However, the difficult circumstances in which people in isolation find themselves create an opportunity to “discover a new closeness,” Francis said.

“Families often eat together in great silence …because the parents watch television … and children are on their mobile phones.”

“They look like monks, all isolated from each other.”

But, “listening to each other is important because that’s how we can understand the needs, efforts, desires of the other.”

He calls this understanding one of “concreteness”.

Doctors, nurses, medical staff and volunteers risking their lives to save the lives of other people during the pandemic “are an example of this concreteness.”

Francis is pleading for everyone “to stay close to those who have lost loved ones, to be close to them in every possible way.”

“Consolation must now be everyone’s commitment,” he stresses.

In his introduction to Mass on Wednesday this week, Francis said to his virtual audience:

“Today we pray for the deceased, those who have died because of the virus” and especially “for health care providers who have given their life in service for the sick.”

More than 500,000 people follow the live-television broadcast of Francis’ daily morning Mass and even more follow it on social media.


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