11 December 1979
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
As we have gathered here together to thank God for the Nobel Peace Prize, I think it will be beautiful that we pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which always surprises me very much . We pray this prayer every day after Holy Communion, because it is very fitting for each one of us.
And I always wonder that 400-500 years ago when St. Francis of Assisi composed this prayer, they had the same difficulties that we have today as we compose this prayer that fits very nicely for us also. I think some of you already have got it - so we pray together: Let us thank God for the opportunity that we all have together today, ...view middle of the document...
And we read that in the Gospel very clearly: "love as I have loved you; as I love you; as the Father has loved me, I love you." And the harder the Father loved him, he gave him to us, and how much we love one another, we too must give to each other until it hurts. It is not enough for us to say: "I love God, but I do not love my neighbor." Saint John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbor.
How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so this is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. It hurt Jesus to love us. It hurt him. And to make sure we remember his great love, he made himself the bread of life to satisfy our hunger for his love - our hunger for God - because we have been created for that love. We have been created in his image.
We have been created to love and to be loved, and he has become man to make it possible for us to love as he loved us. He makes himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, and he says: " You did it to me". he is hungry for our love, and this is the hunger that you and I must find. It may be in our own home. I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten, maybe.
And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on their face. And I turned to the sister and I asked: How is that? How is that these people who have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door? Why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smiles on our people, even the dying ones smile. And she said: "This is nearly every day.
They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten." And see - this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and there are difficult days for everybody. Are we there?
Are we there to Receive them? Is the mother there to receive the child? I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs. And I tried to find out why. Why is it like that? And the answer was: "Because there is no one in the family to receive them." Father and mother are so busy they have no time. Young parents are in some institution and the child goes back to the street and gets involved in something.
We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace. But I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the scripture, for God says very clearly: "Even...