6 May 2019 | Address of His Holiness, Apostolic Journey, Meeting


Church of Saint Michael Archangel in Rakovsky

I would like to share with you an experience I had a few hours ago. This morning I
visited the Vrazhdebna refugee camp and met asylum-seekers and refugees from
various countries of the world who are looking for a better place to live than the one
they left. I also met the Caritas volunteers [applause for the Caritas volunteers who
stand up, each one a wearing red T-shirt]. When I came in here and saw the Caritas
volunteers, I asked who they were because I thought they were fire fighters! All in
red! There [at Vrazhdebna Centre] they told me that the heart of the Centre’s – this
refugee Centre’s – life and work is born from the recognition that every person is a
child of God, regardless of ethnicity or religious confession. In order to love someone,
there is no need to ask for a curriculum vitae; love precedes, it always goes onward,
it takes the first step. Why? Why is love gratuitous? In that Caritas Centre are many
Christians who have learned to see with God’s own eyes. God is not worried about
labels, but seeks out and awaits each person with a Father’s eyes. But do you know
something? We have to be careful! We have fallen into the culture of labels: “this
person is like that, that one like this, this one like that…”. This is not what God wants.
He or she is a person, made in God’s image. No labels! Let’s leave labels up to God;
we just give love, to every person. This is true of gossip too. It’s so easy for gossip
to come between us! “Ah, this one is like that, this one does that…”. We are always
labelling people. I am not talking about you, because I know there is no gossiping
here, but let’s think about places where gossip happens. And that means labelling:
labelling people. We must move from the culture of labelling things to the reality of
naming persons. Seeing with the eyes of faith is a summons not to spend your life
pinning labels, classifying those who are worthy of love and those who are not, but
trying to create conditions in which every person can feel loved, especially those who
feel forgotten by God because they are forgotten by their brothers and sisters.
Brothers and sisters, those who love do not waste time in self-pity, but always try to
do something concrete. In the Centre, they learn to see problems, to acknowledge
them and to confront them; they let themselves be questioned and try to discern
things with the eyes of the Lord. As Pope John said: “I never met a pessimist who
managed to do something good”. Pessimists never do anything good. Pessimists ruin
everything. When I think of a pessimist, I think of a delicious pie. What does the
pessimist do? He or she pours vinegar onto the pie, and ruins everything. Pessimists
ruin everything. Love on the other hand opens doors, always! Pope John was right:
“I never met a pessimist who managed to do something good”. The Lord is the first
not to be pessimistic. He constantly tries to open up paths of resurrection for all of
us. The Lord is an incurable optimist! He is always seeking to think well of us, to carry
us onward, to wager on us. How marvellous it is when our communities become
building sites of hope! The optimist is a man or woman who creates hope in the