Pope Francis stressed this when receiving the Italian National Football Team and the managers of the Italian Football Federation Sunday morning, on the occasion of the initiatives of the National Team. The team has been collaborating with the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital, which is marking its 150th anniversary.
Francis expressed appreciation for their coming to visit so soon following their game, and especially for having visited with the children of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu children’s hospital.
“You were with the children of the Bambino Gesù Hospital – I know – and there, emerged that tenderness that we all have, but that very often we hide, it is hidden inside,” he acknowledged, noting: “But tenderness always comes out when faced with a child, doesn’t it?”
The Holy Father noted that when he entered the room, he saw, on the left, a painting about the creation of the world.
“When you get out, look at it,” he said, stressing; “It is the hands of God that give birth to a child.”
“The artist thought that every birth is a creation. It is always a creation, even those times when creation is not perfect and there is the pain of children,” he said, noting they likely were able to see this during their visit. The Holy Father also acknowledged the crosses that families often bear.
The language for understanding a child and for approaching a child there is tenderness, always. The only thing the child understands, and that we begin to understand in front of a child: the language of tenderness.
Pope Francis thanked them for this gesture of tenderness, and speculated: “Perhaps more than one of you, later, alone, wept. Perhaps that is the case.”
“Tenderness always betrays us! One makes a gesture of tenderness and then weeps in secret, since that is how it is! That is how life is. Thank you, truly,” he said.
The meeting was also attended by the president of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, Dr. Mariella Enoc.