Catholic Social Teaching reminds us that we are ‘social by nature’. In this passage (38) from his encyclical on The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei) Pope Francis explores the meaning of this phrase:
‘Persons always live in relationship. We come from others, we belong to others, and our lives are enlarged by our encounter with others.
‘Even our own knowledge and self-awareness are relational; they are linked to others who have gone before us: in the first place, our parents, who gave us our life and our name. Language itself, the words by which we make sense of our lives and the world around us, comes to us from others, preserved in the living memory of others.
‘Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory.
‘The same thing holds true for faith, which brings human understanding to its fullness. Faith’s past, that act of Jesus’ love which brought new life to the world, comes down to us through the memory of others – witnesses – and is kept alive in that one remembering subject which is the church.’
- What does it mean to me to belong to others?
- How has my life been enlarged by the encounter with others?
- Who are the witnesses who have brought Jesus’ love to me?
Creator God, we belong to you and to each other, help us to love and care for each other.
Help us to recognise those who hunger and thirst, for bread and water, for freedom and justice, as sisters and brothers.
Transform our awareness and our relationships, from selfishness to solidarity.
Action in daily life
- Can I learn something about myself today by examining the quality of my relationships with people who are different to me in some way?
- I will pay attention this week to the language that I use when speaking about poor and marginalised people, and consider the way of making sense of the world that my language implies.
Sandie Cornish devised this reflection for her Catholic Social Teaching website.