I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic – Pope Francis

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“During these difficult days we can find small, concrete gestures expressing closeness and concreteness towards the people closest to us, a caress for our grandparents, a kiss for our children, for the people we love. These are important, decisive gestures. If we live these days like this, they won’t be wasted.”

Pope Francis spoke these words a few days ago, during a visit to two major churches in Rome – Santa Maria Maggiore and San Marcello al Corso – to pray. Speaking to the press, the Pope said he asked the Lord to stop this epidemic, “I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic: Lord, stop it with your hand. That’s what I prayed for.”

He went on to say how important it is to rediscover the little joys of life during these days of fear and isolation, “the concreteness of little things, small gestures of attention we can offer those close to us, our family, our friends. We must understand that in small things lies our treasure.” The Pope continued that while gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion might seem insignificant, they are important as they make life meaningful and create connections between humans.

Pope Francis said that in the time where social media has taken over our lives and we seem to have lost all touch with each other,  it is important to start sharing together the small moments of everyday life, such as eating dinner with the family, listening to each other’s worries and experiences. He thanked all the people on the frontline who are fighting to save lives, calling for compassion and consolation for people who have lost their loved ones.

Pope Francis has put a further spotlight on the Italian health services’ struggle to cope with the coronavirus outbreak, by backing a prominent journalist’s complaint that tax dodgers were partly to blame.

The comment came as Italy’s chronically under-funded public hospitals have been pushed to breaking point at the epicentre of the contagion in the north and as others in less affluent regions scrambled to prepare for an onslaught.

He ended his message by saying that while not everyone felt close to God, everyone can find their strength in the good things. “they can find strength in love for their children, for their family, for their brothers and sisters. One can say: ‘I cannot pray because I do not believe.’ But at the same time, however, he can believe in the love of the people around him, and thus find hope”.

La Repubblica 

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