When I heard that Pope Francis visited the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisi to spend time with those suffering from addiction, I couldn’t help but think that he was living out the motto of World Youth Day, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
It may be a hard connection to make—but for me, the fact that he wanted to spend time with members of society who are often overlooked really struck home the fact that everyone is in need of God’s love. It was a literal reminder that the “all” in “all nations” doesn’t exclude anyone.
During his July 24 visit, he said, “We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: ‘You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to.”
I thought that was a beautiful message for everyone who may be suffering from addiction, mental illness, and other ailments that make it hard for people to live. Perhaps you are the one who needs your hand held, or perhaps you know someone with an addiction who needs your help. In either case, there is room for faith and hope to grow—in the one being helped, and also, in the one doing the helping.