Source: Vatican Media
Pope Francis addressed staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) meeting in Rome last Thursday. He told them God appreciates their work to eradicate poverty and hunger in rural areas of the world.
Seventy-five percent of the world's poor live in rural areas of developing countries. In his address the Holy Father pointed out how paradoxical it is that "a good part of the more than 820 million people who suffer hunger and malnutrition in the world, live in rural areas, are dedicated to food production, and are farmers."
Following his address, the Pope met with IFAD staff members and thanked them for their work "in the service of such a noble cause as the fight against hunger and poverty in the world". He also thanked them "for going against the flow."
"Today's trend sees a slowdown in the reduction of extreme poverty and an increase in the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few", he said. "Few have too much and too many have too little". The Pope described what he called "this perverse current of inequality" as being "disastrous for the future of humanity."
Pope Francis acknowledged how "many needy and disadvantaged people, who survive with so much suffering on the peripheries of the world, benefit from your work." These beneficiaries include disadvantaged children, women, and entire families.
The Pope went on to tell IFAD staff how, "in order to perform this type of service well, it is necessary to combine competence with a particular human sensitivity". It is important to "cultivate the inner life", he told them, "the feelings that open the heart and ennoble others."
Pope Francis encouraged everyone working at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, not to lose hope, not to give in to resignation, "thinking that it is only a drop in the ocean." We can inject enthusiasm into everything we do, "day by day, even in small things", he said. This means "putting God in what we do", added Pope Francis: "because God never tires of doing good, of starting again. He never tires of giving hope."
Finally, the Pope urged IFAD staff always "to look for a face," the faces of the people behind the case studies. "It is important not to stay on the surface," he said, "but to enter into reality, to see the faces."
The question to be asked, Pope Francis sad, is 'how much love do I put into the things I do now?' "Those who love," he concluded, "use their imagination: they can see solutions .. where others see only problems."
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