Wishes and Message for the Easter
Despite the difficulties of this year, Easter is approaching all the same and this fact will never stop.
Another thing that will never stop, according to Jesus, is the presence of the poor: (Mk 14,7) "in fact, you will always have the poor with you".
On this sacred duty that we have, you have been companions to us on our way;
The Board of Caritas Athens
Those who believe are never alone
For more than a year, we have been experiencing a new reality that includes lockdowns, quarantines and facemasks. Many people that are already entrusted in our care at Caritas, as well as enough new people who never thought that they would need assistance, have been feeling extremely lonely and isolated.
The necessary and understandable instructions for physical distance have caused severe isolation. We hear of ‘social distancing’ between people. A better term would be ‘remote socialization’. This way, people stay close to each other while remaining physically distant.
The Fratelli Tutti’s last newsletter states that even before the pandemic, we were ‘lonelier that ever in a world where personal interests are rising and communication weakens (FT 12). (…) ‘‘Nowadays we live off by dreaming of fame and greatness. We have ended up living our lives without proper attention and in loneliness while being locked up in ourselves. Being addicted to the internet has forced us to forget the meaning of fraternity. We search for quick and safe outcomes and we suppress ourselves with impatience and anxiety. We are prisoners of a virtual reality for we have lost the sweet taste of the truth’ (FT 33). This is one of the reasons why we have to learn from the crisis: we cannot return to the situation as it was before.
At the same time, we recognize, based on experience as well as scientific research, that we, as human beings, need each other. When Jesus directs our attention to loneliness, His words have an even deeper meaning. They force us to recognize Christ himself in each of our abandoned or isolated brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 25:40.45). Jesus reminds us that the community is the remedy for the many threats our world faces. When we know our whole existence is based on the fact that we are created in the image and likeness of God, who Himself is a communion of three persons, we fulfill our existence as human beings in encountering, in getting acquainted with other people.
To find effective solutions for the challenges of our time, we have to collaborate and strengthen our sense of solidarity: not just as people, as a society, as brothers and sisters, but also as human-made states in different parts of the world. To be a part of Caritas today means to promote a culture of care for our common home and its people, and to promote justice for all, especially for the most vulnerable members and the outcasts of society.
These days, we focus on the great light which is Christ’s Resurrection at Easter. The centre of our faith is that life is stronger than death and that hope will triumph over despair.
In our present situation, the world needs hope and love that will turn into action. We need trust and solidarity.
As Caritas - a true reflection of the Church - we are called to stand up for those who struggle with solitude so they may feel that they are never alone. With our projects and efforts to make the world a better place, we offer companionship and fellowship for people in need. St. Francis of Assisi reminds us to never start with empty words: ‘preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words’.
There are examples of good deeds in so many places and in so many projects where people live and act as ‘Caritas’, especially in the important field of caring for the lonely.
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says: “Those who believe are never alone. God comes to meet us all.” Easter encourages us to bring forth our faith and our love into action: ‘Let us open up to each other so we may know God and meet Him!’ To the best of our abilities, let us make sure that none of God’s children ever feels alone!”
A friendly smile, a kind word, a helping hand may seem little but they have the power to change someone’s life, and even our own lives. As Anne Frank once stated: ‘No one ever became poor by giving’.