To be open to a genuine encounter with others, “a kind look” is essential. This is incompatible with a negative attitude that readily points out other people’s shortcomings while overlooking one’s own. A kind look helps us to see beyond our own limitations, to be patient and to cooperate with others, despite our differences. Loving kindness builds bonds, cultivates relationships, creates new networks of integration and knits a firm social fabric. In this way, it grows ever stronger, for without a sense of belonging we cannot sustain a commitment to others; we end up seeking our convenience alone and life in common becomes impossible...Those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation, and encouragement. These were the words that Jesus himself spoke: “Take heart, my son!” Mt 9:2; “Great is your faith!” Mt 15:28; “Arise!” Mk 5:41; “Go in peace” Lk 7:50; “Be not afraid” Mt 14:27. These are not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn. In our families, we must learn to imitate Jesus’ own gentleness in our way of speaking to one another.
During dinner in the monastic refectory, we are listening as a brother reads to us from the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. As day by day we seek to live and pray and work together in harmony here in our monastic household, Pope Francis' words strike the perfect note.