VATICAN CITY — It was to have hands and be able to touch and heal people that Christ became human, Pope Francis has said.
Pope Francis greeting a man with a disability after celebrating a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“God meddles in our miseries, he approaches our wounds and heals them with his hands; it was to have hands he became man.”
“God does not save us only by decree, with a law, he saves us with tenderness, he saves us with caresses, he saves us with his life given for us.”
— Pope Francis Oct. 22 homily
Pope Francis embracing a man at the Nov. 6 general audience in St. Peter’s Square. (CNS photo/Claudio Peri, EPA)
This passage seemed appropriate to accompany the pictures of Pope Francis embracing and kissing a man disfigured by neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder resulting in numerous, often painful, tumors.
The gesture at yesterday’s general audience has grabbed people’s attention, as well as news headlines.
But, every time we are struck by such poignant and moving movements, we should also consider something else the pope has said.
Pope Francis greeting a young man as he visits St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro July 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The people behind the picture aren’t just an image to be digested and forgotten with the next news cycle; they are people who need to be heard every day:
“In the people we find the wounds of Jesus. Jesus hidden in the Eucharist and Jesus hidden in these wounds. They need to be heard!
Maybe not so much in newspapers as news; there they take notice for one, two, three days, then something else comes up, and another thing. The wounds should be heard by those who call themselves Christian.
— Pope Francis meeting with children Oct. 4 in Assisi
As gestures often communicate more powerfully than words, we’re sharing some of our favorite Francis moments and inviting people to think about the message: What is it that needs to be heard and then lived?
Pope Francis embraces a young woman during an encounter with youth in Cagliari, Sardinia, Sept. 22. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis greets people in wheelchairs after celebrating a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis greets a woman during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 2. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis leading Benediction during a vigil to pray for peace in Syria Sept. 7 in St. Peter’s Square. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis blessing a boy in the Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro July 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis greets Alberto di Tullio, 17, after letting him sit and spin around in the popemobile chair during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
A child waves a flag as Pope Francis arrives at the Caritas residence in the Italian pilgrimage town of Assisi Oct. 4. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)
Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI embracing at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, March 23. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Pope Francis kisses the foot of a prison inmate during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at Rome’s Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility March 28. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Pope Francis during a meeting with young people from the northern Italian diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio in St. Peter’s Basilica Aug. 28. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis touches the head of a child during a Year of Faith celebration of the family in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 26. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Pope Francis bowing and asking people to pray for him after he appeared for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after his election March 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)