Pope Francis quotes himself from an address of six years ago:
230. Working to overcome our divisions without losing our identity as individuals presumes that a basic sense of belonging is present in everyone. Indeed, “society benefits when each person and social group feels truly at home. In a family, parents, grandparents and children all feel at home; no one is excluded. If someone has a problem, even a serious one, even if he brought it upon himself, the rest of the family comes to his assistance; they support him. His problems are theirs… In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose; everyone works for the common good, not denying each person’s individuality but encouraging and supporting it. They may quarrel, but there is something that does not change: the family bond. Family disputes are always resolved afterwards. The joys and sorrows of each of its members are felt by all. That is what it means to be a family! If only we could view our political opponents or neighbors in the same way that we view our children or our spouse, mother or father! How good would this be! Do we love our society or is it still something remote, something anonymous that does not involve us, something to which we are not committed?” [Meeting with Political, Economic and Civic Leaders, Quito, Ecuador(7 July 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 9 July 2015, p. 9]
Not only is there a commitment to a greater collective good, but in such a system, other parts of the body support and encourage the individual. Consult Saint Paul’s image in 1 Corinthians 12. When one part is troubled or in difficulty, others support it. When one is honored, all share the joy. This kind of communion (I hesitate to label it mere community) involves a skilled awareness beyond the self. Do we raise our children to attune themselves to the moods and needs of siblings and parents? When they are grown, do they look for these opportunities of communion and of building up others in their circles? Or is it just a race to see who accumulates the most toys?
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