As a friend of mine said a while ago on Facebook, “Since his arrival, how many times has the Pope mentioned poverty, inequality and corruption? How many times has he referred to the poor and the need to be with the poor? And how many will act on these words long after he has left our shores?”.
So, for everyone who was inspired by the Philippine papal visit, and seriously wants to practice/live up to the teachings of Pope Francis, here’s six lessons and 12 quotes which can serve as guides:
1. Corruption is something everyone must fight against
“I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.” – Pope Francis, Malacañang Speech, Jan. 16 2015
2. Protecting the environment requires more than just putting your garbage in the trash can
“A second key area where you are called to make a contribution is in showing concern for the environment. This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change… Respect for the environment means more than simply using cleaner products or recycling what we use. These are important aspects, but not enough.” – Pope Francis, Undelivered Speech to the Youth Encounter, Jan. 18 2015
3. Use your talents to serve the people and defend the poor
“Bilang Kristiyanao, miyembro ng pamilya ng Diyos, tinatawag tayo upang hanapin at paglingkuran ag lahat ng mga nangangailangan” – Pope Francis, on Twitter, January 18 2015
“This is the challenge that life offers you: to learn how to love. Not just to accumulate information without knowing what to do with it… What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put it into practice. ” – Pope Francis, Speech to the Youth Encounter, January 18 2015
4. There’s no other way but to change society
“Through sin, man has also destroyed the unity and beauty of our human family, creating social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.” – Pope Francis, Homily for the Luneta Mass, January 18 2015
“The Church in the Philippines is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Filipino society, plainly
contradicting the teaching of Christ” – Pope Francis, Homily for the Manila Cathedral Mass, January 16 2015
“It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities.” – Malacanang Speech
5. Collective action is the key
“The Gospel calls individual Christians to live lives of honesty, integrity and concern for the common good. But it also calls Christian communities to create “circles of integrity”, networks of solidarity which can expand to embrace and transform society by their prophetic witness.” – Homily for the Manila Cathedral Mass
6. We can’t act towards change without seeing things from the eyes of the poor
“How many young people among you are like this? You know how to give and yet you have ever learned how to receive. You still lack one thing. Become a beggar. This is what you still lack… To learn how to receive with humility. To learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us… This is what helps you mature in your commitment to give to others. Learn how to open your hand from your very own poverty.” – Speech to the Youth Encounter
“Only by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency, will we be able to identify with the least of our brothers and sisters. We will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality.” – Homily for the Manila Cathedral Mass
“The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor.” – Malacanang Speech
Makes sense? Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Sign up for the People’s Initiative to abolish the Pork Barrel.
2. Learn more about real environmentalism from real environmental defenders.