Pope Francis met with government officials, diplomatic missions, and leaders of civil society and religious circles in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. In his speech, the Pope urged the people of the country to increase the spirit of friendship, hospitality and solidarity.
(Vatican News Network)On Monday, September 13, Pope Francis urged Slovakia to follow the path of peace and integration through friendship and hospitality, and invited the people of the country to share bread with others, and to add flavor to life with the salt of solidarity and mutual assistance. Pope Bergrio is making his 34th international pastoral visit in Slovakia. On the morning of the 13th, he met with government officials, diplomatic missions, and leaders of civil society and religious circles at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, the capital of the country. . The day before, on Sunday, September 12, the 84-year-old Pope hosted the closing mass for the 52nd International Eucharist in Budapest, Hungary. Then he took a special plane to Slovakia that afternoon to continue the four-day event. access.
Facing the Slovak authorities, the pope first talked about the peaceful separation of Czechoslovakia 28 years ago, and praised Slovakia as the “message of peace in the heart of Europe.” Then, the Pope pointed out that the blue on the Slovak flag symbolizes “brotherhood with Slavic peoples.” In order to gradually advance the process of integration and peace, such brotherhood is essential. The Pope wishes Europe to cross borders and bring the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance back to the center of history.
The two co-sponsors of Europe, St. Cyril and St. Medallion, are examples of brotherhood. The brothers of the saints are the apostles of the Slavic nation. They resonate with everyone and seek communion with everyone, including those of Slavic, Greek and Latin traditions. The people of Slovakia are called to be a sign of unity, to maintain this heritage, and to open their hearts to others automatically and spontaneously.
The Pope not only encourages the unity and friendship of the Slovak people, but also urges them to show the spirit of hospitality. This is reflected in the custom of receiving guests in Slovakia: to provide visitors with bread and salt as a sign of welcome. The Pope thus stated that God chose to lie among us with bread. The Bible tells us not to hoard food, but to share it. Just as the bread in the gospel is always broken, real wealth is not simply accumulating our possessions, but in sharing what we have fairly with those around us. The Pope emphasized that “no one should be stigmatized or discriminated against.” Christians should not regard others as burdens or troubles, but as brothers and sisters who need help and protection. This not only urges us to share food fairly, but also requires justice and fair laws, as well as combating corruption.
When praying for daily food, it contains the right to employment and work, because without work, there is no dignity. A fair and friendly society is based on the right of everyone to earn bread from work, so that no one will feel excluded or forced to leave their homes in search of a better life.
When it comes to the symbolic meaning of salt, the Pope stated that just as salt adds flavor to food, we also need the taste of solidarity and mutual assistance. Through many people giving their lives for others and giving generously without asking for anything in return, society has tasted this again. Young people have dreams and creativity, and they especially need to be encouraged in this regard. However, consumerism makes life dull, and finally makes young people’s dreams shattered. The Pope said that caring for others is the missing ingredient. Responsibility to others can add flavor to our lives and enable us to understand that what we give is actually a gift to ourselves.
Just as salt can preserve food, the Pope also hopes that the Slovak people will not allow consumerism, material wealth or various forms of ideological colonization to have the opportunity to corrupt their long traditions and make them lose their mellow flavor. In the past, the single ideological system of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia for decades has led to the dying of freedom; now, another single ideological system has reduced the progress of various rights and interests to individual needs. Under these circumstances, the Pope pointed out that the salt of faith has quietly acted in humility, especially through the witness of charity, sowing the seeds of the kingdom of heaven. The Eight Ends of Blessedness inspires the Christian view of society. St. Cyril and St. Medallée demonstrated that guarding goodness does not mean repeating the past, but not forgetting the local area and opening up to new ideas.
Many well-known men and women in Slovakia have endured the suffering of imprisonment, but have always maintained their inner freedom, setting a shining example for courage, integrity, resistance to injustice, and especially forgiveness. The Pope praised them as the salt of the land of Slovakia.
Finally, the Pope talked about the current COVID-19 crisis and urged everyone not to shrink back, not just to care about themselves, but to go out again, realizing that we are all vulnerable and need each other. No one, no country can stand by.
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Pope at the Presidential Palace in Slovakia