Pope Francis made a moving decision on Wednesday when he encouraged a young boy with disabilities who ran on stage to continue playing.
Wenzel Wirth, 6, darted over to the Pope in the Vatican audience hall in Vatican City, the Associated Press reported. As Wenzel’s mother tried to retrieve him, she told the Pope that her son is unable to speak.
“Let him be, let him be” the Pope told the woman, who had traveled with her family from Verona for the event, according to Reuters.
Wenzel’s presence inspired the Pope to offer some insight to the audience. “But he knows how to communicate, to express himself,” the Pope reportedly said. “And he has something that made me think: He’s free. Undiciplined-ly free, but he’s free.”
“He made me think of myself, ‘Am I also so free in front of God?'” the Pope told the audience. “When Jesus tells us that we have to be like children he is telling us that we need to feel as free as a child feels in front of his parents.
“I think this is what this child has preached to us all,” the Pope said. “Let’s ask (God) the grace that he may speak.”
Wenzel’s appearance before the Pope took his father, Ariel Wirth, by surprise. “It was not planned,” Ariel told the AP.
“We try to let him be free,” he said, noting that Wenzel has behavioral issues. “He has to express himself, and we live without hiding his problems.”