Fratelli Tutti approaches the same integral way of living and
thinking but this time it focuses mainly on human relationships, both on a
personal and community level.
To be human is to live in a rich, complex and creative
nexus of relationships without which we would not exist, nor would we be able
to realise our own humanity. Being held, and living in these relationships, not
only brings us many good things, it confers responsibilities. It would be a
mistake to think of these responsibilities as limitations upon us. Rather, they
become opportunities for us to express our care and love for each other and,
indeed, the planet which is our home. In these moral and personal relationships
our lives find meaning and purpose. Just as Laudato Si’ captured the dynamic
inter-relationality of all life when it spoke of ‘an integral ecology’, so Fratelli
Tutti, captures the inter-relational and inter-personal reality of what it
means to be human when it speaks of ‘fraternity and social friendship’. Together, while these encyclicals present us with a
perceptive, honest picture of our broken and wounded world, they also express a
realistic hope that we can change. We can begin to mend our world and, in doing
so, mend ourselves.
We know that it cannot be done alone. We need friends
for this journey, and we need also to become a friend to others who are setting
out with us. It
is when we are divided and think that we can achieve it on our own, whether as
an individual or as a nation, that we will fail.
Fratelli Tutti knows something that
cannot be found in books of political science or psychology no matter how
insightful and wise. It knows that we are never alone for always God
is walking with us; often unseen, sometimes carrying us, sometimes urging us
on. For God so loves the world
and wants it to have life (Jn 3:16 ff.; Rom.8:31). Christ is the assurance
that God is not only with us but for us, and that our work together will never
be in vain.