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Pope Francis: to Franciscans, “Hug the leper of our time”

“Minority has to be seen also in relation to all the men and women you happen to meet, taking care to avoid any attitude of superiority possibly distancing you from your neighbour”. That’s what the Pope said to the Franciscan families he received today. “Saint Francis clearly expresses this view in the two chapters of the Rule, where he relates his choice to have no property with welcoming any person, until sharing life with the most despised, with the ones actually regarded as the lowest people by society”, said the Pope. Moreover, friars “should be happy to live beside disparaged people, or unimportant people, the poor and the weak, the invalid and the leper, or the beggars in the street”. Therefore, we wonder: “Where are we? Who are we with? Who we relate to? Who are our favourite? Since minority is related to brotherhood as well as to any one of its components, everyone should examine one’s lifestyle, expenses, clothes, and everything regarded as necessary”. “Please, when you do some activities for young children, the poor or the outcast, never look down on them”, pointed out the Pope: “Just think that everything you may do for them is a way to give back for free what you received for free”. “Open your hearts and hug the leper of our time; and being aware of the mercy of the Lord for you, have mercy for them, as your father Saint Francis did”, that was the invitation of Francis, who invited the Franciscans to take also care of “immigrants, looking for a dignified life”, and of “all the people living on the border of existence, without dignity, in the light of the Gospel”, and of the sick and the insane, too.

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