“Give and it will be given to you”.
In Italian, Date e vi sarà dato.
That’s the task the Pope gave Saturday to over 5,000 scouts and guides from over 20 countries in Europe in Rome for the conclusion of their weeklong 2019 Euromoot pilgrimage.
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“With your journey and your dreams, you are already forging the European spirit”, the Pope told the young men and women aged from 16 to 21.
The idea of Europe was the touchstone of the Pope’s address, with Francis explaining that “Europe needs to encounter herself” and commending this “historic task” to the scouts and guides.
“I hope, dear guides and rovers of Europe, that you will clear the way for the path of giving, that you will clear this path of the gift, of giving. Give and it will be given to you”, the Pope insisted.
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The Pope proposed the biblical motif of “Give and it will be given to you” (from the Gospel of Luke, 6.38) as a “map” and “program of life” for Europe.
“First of all, Give. Today we think immediately of having. So many live with the sole aim of possessing what they like. But they are never satisfied, because when you have one thing you want another, and then yet another, and it carries on like this, without end”, lamented Francis.
But Francis didn’t just limit himself to a condemnation of consumerism.
“Give and it will be given to you” also applies to our attitude towards other people and to creation, the Pope explained.
And it was here that Bergoglio’s words to the scouts and guides took on a particular relevance to the situation in Europe today.
“In your journey you were immersed in nature. Beautiful! Did you notice that creation has no borders?”, Francis asked the scouts and guides.
“Creation has no borders: it is of and for everyone. The plants, the woods, the animals grow without confines, without border controls”, the Pope continued.
“Creation is an open book that gives us a valuable teaching: we are in the world to encounter others, to create communion, because we are all connected.
“Creation is made to connect us with God and among ourselves, it is God’s social network. But if we start out with preconceived ideas about others, fixed ideas, we will always see limits and barriers.
“If instead we start by encountering the other, with his history, with his reality, we will discover a brother with whom we inhabit the common home, with whom we inhabit the creation that has no frontiers”.
Why it matters
Cultivating an attitude of giving means going beyond consumerism, the construction of walls and the abuse of creation. In the measure that we give, we become “active citizens” and cultivate a “love for Europe”, said Francis.
“Love for Europe too… does not require merely attentive observers, but active builders: builders of reconciled and integrated societies, that give life to a renewed Europe; not a protector of spaces, but a generator of encounters”, the Pope explained to his audience.
Francis’ idea of Europe as a “generator of encounters” rather than a “protector of spaces” is in sharp contrast with those politicians who insist on strengthening the continent’s borders to keep out migrants and refugees.
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