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Pope Francis Calls for Recognition of Quiet Goodness in the World
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During his weekly public audience on September 6, Pope Francis encouraged people to seek out the often unnoticed but essential acts of goodness in the world, even in a society more inclined to focus on failure and scandal.
Photo credit: Jon Tyson
The Pope poignantly remarked, "Just think how many hidden seeds of goodness make the garden of the world flourish, while we usually only hear about the sound of falling trees." He drew a parallel between the tendency to fixate on negative events, such as a falling tree, and the neglect of the silent, incremental growth happening all around us.
Francis underscored that people often gravitate toward scandal and negativity, lamenting, "People, we too like scandal. 'Look at what barbarity, a tree fell, the noise it made!' But you don't see the forest that is growing every day. Because the growth is in silence." He called on individuals to shift their perspective toward the "light of the good" in the world and to resist the inclination to appreciate others solely based on shared ideas.
The Pope's address came just two days after his return from a trip to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. In a country historically dominated by Buddhism, with fewer than 1,500 Catholics among its sparsely populated 3 million people, some questioned why the Pope chose to visit such a small Catholic community.
In response to this question, Pope Francis explained, "Because it is precisely there, far from the spotlight, that we often find the signs of the presence of God, who does not look at appearances, but at the heart." He emphasized that God values the simplicity and authenticity of those who seek Him, free from ostentation and the desire to overshadow others.
Reflecting on the remarkable story of the Christian community in Mongolia, the Pope praised the dedication of the missionaries who, driven by apostolic zeal, ventured into the unknown country three decades ago. Despite facing challenges, these missionaries learned the language and embraced the Mongolian way of life, fostering an inculturated Catholic community.
Pope Francis celebrated this approach as true catholicity â€" a living universality that recognizes and embraces goodness where it is found, serving the local population within its cultural context. He commended the Church for bearing witness to the love of Jesus through actions rather than mere words and for finding joy in service to the Lord and humanity.
Pope Francis's historic trip to Mongolia marked a milestone in papal history, underscoring the importance of engaging with diverse cultures and broadening horizons. His experiences in the vast and quiet expanses of Mongolia prompted him to encourage others to extend the boundaries of their perspective, recognizing the good in others, and embracing the wisdom of different cultures.
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In a world often captivated by sensationalism and negativity, Pope Francis's message resonates as a call to shift our focus toward the abundant and often quiet goodness that surrounds us.
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