Solidarity is more than the name of a famous Polish labor union that brought about momentous change in the Communist world in the 1980s. It’s an important part of the Church’s social teaching.
Solidarity recognizes that every human soul is created by God and redeemed by Jesus. Thus, all people are equal before God and deserving respect.
At the beginning of World War II, Pope Pius XII wrote: “A contemporary error is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, imposed both by our common origin and by the equality of all men. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross.”
Pope St. John Paul II wrote that solidarity is “a firm determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”
More recently, Pope Francis wrote that solidarity is the answer to the “scourges of our own day.” Speaking to the United Nations and quoting from an Argentinian poet, he said: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law. If you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside.” Who is the one outside the human family who devours? The devil.
And so, in solidarity with people everywhere, we commit ourselves to praying and working this month for the common good so that all people, especially those who are alienated and abandoned may know they are not alone.
Seminarians and Novices. That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.
Following Christ, we are all called to be missionaries. Pope Francis wrote that “if every baptized person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. Since Christ’s entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality” (World Mission Day Message, 2015).
He went on: “Mission is a passion for Jesus. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity.”
Those who have experienced the deep love of the Heart of Jesus and give themselves totally to God’s service as priests and religious sisters and brothers—these consecrated ones are called to share his passion for mission. They cannot keep the Good News of God’s love to themselves. But they need preparation so that their initial experience of God’s love may grow and so that they will know the best ways to share that love.
Seminarians and those beginning consecrated life in religious communities need teachers who will guard the spark that inspired them to serve God. They need joyful and wise mentors who will fan the spark into flame in such a way that it does not burn too fast and burn out but rather burn with the steady light and warmth that is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the burning furnace of charity.”
We join Pope Francis in praying that dioceses and communities may commit some of their best people to the formation of future priests, sisters, and brothers.