To prepare for this healing mission, he explained, it was essential to "contemplate and appreciate the beauty of every human being and every creature," recognizing Christ especially in the poor and suffering.
He said that Christians were called to help society emerge from the pandemic in "a human way," rather than a "mechanical way," displaying the tenderness that is "the very sign of Jesus' presence."
He said: "A small virus continues to cause deep wounds and to expose our physical, social, and spiritual vulnerabilities. It has laid bare the great inequality that reigns in the world: inequality of opportunity, inequality of goods, inequality of access to health care, inequality of technology, education: millions of children cannot go to school, and so the list goes on."
"These injustices are neither natural nor inevitable. They are the work of man, they come from a model of growth detached from the deepest values ... And this has made many people lose hope and has increased uncertainty and anguish. That is why, to come out of the pandemic, we must find the cure not only for the coronavirus -- which is important! -- but also for the great human and socio-economic viruses."
He continued: "We need to set to work urgently to generate good policies, to design systems of social organization that reward participation, care and generosity, rather than indifference, exploitation and particular interests."
"We must go ahead with tenderness. A fair and equitable society is a healthier society. A participatory society -- where the "last" are taken into account just like the "first" -- strengthens communion. A society where diversity is respected is much more resistant to any kind of virus."
Concluding the address with a reflection on the kingdom of heaven, he said: "May God grant us to 'viralize' love and to 'globalize' hope in the light of faith."
After his address, the pope offered a special greeting to new seminarians who arrived recently in Rome to begin their formation at the Pontifical North American College, as well as to deacons.
He said: "May the Lord sustain their efforts to be faithful servants of the Gospel. Upon all of you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!"
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Greeting Polish pilgrims, the pope noted that October is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
"Be faithful to your custom of praying the rosary in your communities and especially in your families," he said. "Reflecting every day on the mysteries of Mary's life in the light of the salvific work of her Son, let her participate in your joys, your worries and moments of happiness. May God bless you through her hands!"