Pray for the grace to see and treat others with the compassion of God, Pope Francis said on Sunday.
In his message before the Angelus July 10, the pope spoke about the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the responsibility to help those in need.
Rather than “pointing fingers at others” who do not help the poor, or blaming ourselves for our mistakes, “I would like to suggest another type of exercise to you all,” he said from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
“This is the prayer that I suggest to you today,” he said: “‘Lord, that I might see and have compassion just like you see me and have compassion on me’ — that we might have compassion on those whom we encounter along the way, above all on those who suffer and are in need, to draw near to them and do what we can do to give them a hand.”
He explained that we must acknowledge when we have been indifferent towards the needs of others. “Let us ask the Lord,” he said, “to help us overcome our selfish indifference and put ourselves on the Way.”
The pope said the first Christians were called “disciples of the Way,” because they followed Jesus Christ, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life.”
As Christian believers, Francis said, we strongly resemble the Good Samaritan in the parable because we are also on a journey.
“Walking in the footsteps of Christ, the disciple becomes a wayfarer and — like the Samaritan — learns to see and to have compassion,” he said.
To really see, the pope said, means to have eyes open to reality, “not egoistically closed in on the circle of their own thoughts.”
“The Gospel teaches us to see — it leads each of us to correctly understand reality, overcoming preconceptions and dogmatism each day,” he continued, adding that “so many believers take refuge behind dogmatisms to defend themselves from reality.”
Having eyes open to reality “teaches us to follow Jesus, because following Jesus teaches us to have compassion — to see and to have compassion — to become aware of others, especially those who suffer, those who are in need, and to intervene like the Samaritan, not to pass by but to stop,” he said.
Pope Francis also encouraged everyone to not avoid human contact with the people they help.
“If you give alms without touching the reality, without looking into the eyes of the person in need, those alms are for you, not for that person,” he said. “Think about this. Do I touch misery, even the misery that I am helping? Do I look into the eyes of the people who suffer, of the people that I help?”