169. I ask young people to go beyond their small groups and to build “social friendship, where everyone works for the common good. Social enmity, on the other hand, is destructive. Families are destroyed by enmity. Countries are destroyed by enmity. The world is destroyed by enmity. And the greatest enmity of all is war. Today we see that the world is destroying itself by war… So find ways of building social friendship”.[ Greeting to Young People of the Father Félix Varela Cultural Centre in Havana (20 September 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 21-22 September 2015, 6]
Good advice for pretty much anybody, moving beyond one’s ideological cadres. It means sacrifice, a loss of safety and a drift into new contacts, where we may or may not friendship or connection. Many of us will fail to find the insights we might seek or for which we hope.
It is not easy, it always means having to give something up and to negotiate, but if we do it for the sake of helping others, we can have the magnificent experience of setting our differences aside and working together for something greater. If, as a result of our own simple and at times costly efforts, we can find points of agreement amid conflict, build bridges and make peace for the benefit of all, then we will experience the miracle of the culture of encounter. This is something which young people can dare to pursue with passion.
And hopefully, older people can do this too. Heaven knows I need it.The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.
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