Everyone without exception can say that Humanity is their Religion. For, everyone has humanity in varying decree. Still it is clear that not everyone behave with humanness. Most of the people do behave with humanity. But seeing the behaviour of some people we may ask if there is any trace of humanity in him or her! Seeing a poor labourer being killed with knife and being burned alive in Rajasthan in the name of ‘Jihad’ I am forced to ask, is the humanity dead and gone in the heinous murderer? Cruelly murdering a fellow human being and then uploading the video of the cruel crime is done certainly without any humanity. It is inhuman; it is devilish.
Here I would like to write about humanity or humanness. I have had the opportunity to participate in 13 international press conferences and many more international seminars with journalists and writers from around the world. For my journalism studies and these world conferences and international seminars and workshops I have travelled to not less than 35 countries. Participating in these world events in the five continents I have mingled with all sorts of journalists and writers. Consequently I know that people may be different in colours and cultures. Their languages and races may be dissimilar. Their religion, behaviour and appearance, etc may be world apart. But as human beings they are all very similar. We see unity in diversity.
Every person can behave with humanity. Humanity is everyone’s religion. Among a few select characteristics of humanity for me Equality takes pride of place. When a child is born, s/he has no caste, religion, language or culture. The child gets them all from her/his parents and from all those who comes into her/his life. A child inherits many things from its childhood. S/He inherits language, culture, religion and a host of other things.
We experience love as the foundation of humanity. No man is an island. So there is caring and seeking company of one another. In every person there is a thirst, a hunger or an unfulfilled desire for something unknown. There are a few eminent personalities who may be considered trailblazers of some of the characteristic of humanity. Among such people I count Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King (Junior) and Mother Teresa.
In our times I consider Pope Francis a trailblazer of the religion of Humanity. In the year 2013 when he was elected as the Pope, Time magazine honoured him as the ‘Man of the Year’ with his photo on its cover. Pope Francis was acclaimed by Time neither as a religious head nor as the Spiritual Guru of the Catholic Christians in the world; but he is beaconed as a light-house of Humanity without any distinction of caste, religion, race or culture.
Everyone knows Pope Francis that with his words and deeds without any show or publicity he is proclaiming the Gospel of love and peace for all people. At home and abroad he calls people with the message of spiritual, religious and ethical values of life. All his unassuming actions and behaviour too are of such nature.
For instance, he took the name of ‘Francis’ from the medieval saint Francis Assisi when he accepted the title ‘Pope’. Francis Assisi was such a unique saint who loved and cared for everyone and the entire animate and inanimate creation. Pope Francis embraced and kissed a man with a disfigured, ugly head. He washed the feet of a young Muslim woman. He has also calling everyone to care for the poor and the displaced migrant refugees. Pope Francis has become a much loved popular leader advocating the religion of Humanity. He lives in his daily life the human values of love, truth, justice, forgiveness, equality, mercy and other similar values of Humanity. In short, we can say that Pope Francis’ life and message is a proclamation of the religion of Humanity.
I would like to call Pope Francis as the Ambassador of humanity. I consider him also the advocate and defender of refugees, victims of political and religious persecutions. He is constantly denouncing wars among nations and everything that makes people homeless and displaced. On the other hand he is also consistently pleading with concerned people to have mercy on refugees and give them shelter and protection. A number of countries in Europe have opened their borders and given protection to displaced refugees. Thanks to Pope Francis’ appeal some political leaders some countries have taken in more refugees than they had decided earlier.
Pope Francis is not only an imitable model for me and he is also my ideal. I am also a great admirer of Pope Francis. In his message for the people there are no distinctions of caste and creed, of colour and race; of language and culture. Being himself a person who practices what he preaches, he points to the ways where people can walk. To give you an example, Pope Francis calls for service to the poor and the refugees; and he himself gives shelter and serves the homeless people in the tiny Vatican City! Concretely Pope has arranged night-shelter in Rome for people, who sleep on the street paths and at the doors of shops. Thus Pope Francis provides all of us ways and means to be kind and merciful to the poor people in their dire needs.
Pope Francis’ words and deeds, in short, his whole life, is a plea to us to be kind and merciful.
Changed On: 16-05-2019
Next Change: 01-06-2019
Copyright Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ – 2019