In the interview, Pope Francis offers advice about how to face the daily challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic: "We need to rediscover the concreteness of small things, the small acts of kindness shown to those who are close to us, family, friends. We need to realize that our treasure lies in small things. There are tiny gestures that sometimes get lost in the routine of everyday life, gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion, that are nevertheless decisive, important”, he says. The Pope gives the examples of sharing “a hot plate of food, a caress, a hug, a phone call... These are familiar, attentive gestures regarding everyday details that make life meaningful, and create communion and communication amongst us".
Pope Francis observes that many time communication is only “virtual”. “Instead we should discover a new closeness”, he says. “Real relationships made of attentiveness and patience”. The Pope describes how some families eat together at home in silence – not because they are listening to one another, but because “the parents are watching television while they eat, and their children are on their mobile phones”. Pope Francis describes this kind of family as “monks isolated from one another”. There is no communication here, he says. “Instead, listening to one another is important because we understand one another's needs, struggles, desires”. “There is a language made of concrete gestures that must be safeguarded”, continues the Pope. The suffering people are enduring at this time should make us open to this language.
In the interview, Pope Francis expresses his appreciation for healthcare personnel and volunteers. He thanks those who dedicate themselves to helping others in this way, and describes them as “an example” of the concreteness of small acts of kindness. The Pope invites “everyone to be close to those who have lost loved ones, to try to accompany them in every way possible”. We must all be dedicated to consoling others, he adds. Pope Francis mentions that he was particularly struck by an article he read recently. In it, the author indicates how "our behav- iour always affects others’ lives". The example cited was that of how not paying our taxes, leads to lack of healthcare services.
From an interview with the Italian daily newspaper “La Repubblica”
Frančiškanski pater Martin Krizolog