MEMORIAL OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, PRIEST AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
-from Pope Francis’ editorial in the New York Times, “A Crisis Reveals What Is In Our Hearts,” November 26, 2020
I. The theme of helping others has stayed with me these past months. In lockdown I’ve often gone in prayer to those who sought all means to save the lives of others. So many of the nurses, doctors, and caregivers paid that price of love, together with priests, and religious and ordinary people whose vocations were service. We return their love by grieving for them and honoring them. Whether or not they were conscious of it, their choice testified to a belief: that it is better to live a shorter life serving others than a longer one resisting that call. That’s why, in many countries, people stood at their windows or on their doorsteps to applaud them in gratitude and awe. They are the saints next door, who have awakened something important in our hearts, making credible once more what we desire to instill by preaching. They are the antibodies to the virus of indifference. They remind us that our lives are a gift and we grow by giving of ourselves, not preserving ourselves but losing ourselves in service… Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate. It is all too easy to take an idea – in this case, for example, personal freedom – and turn it into an ideology, creating a prism through which they judge everything.