by Elise Harris
On Wednesday Pope Francis said Christians are never bored or hopeless, but know how to wait patiently – even when life is hard, monotonous or unclear – with the knowledge that after the darkness, there is always light.
“The Christian was not made for boredom, but for patience,” the Pope said Oct. 11. This, he said, is because “they know that even in the monotony of days that are always the same a mysterious grace is hidden.”
There are people people “who with the perseverance of their love become like wells that irrigate the desert,” he said, adding that “nothing happens in vain, no situation in which a Christian finds themselves immersed is completely refractory to love.”
“No night is so long that the joy of dawn is forgotten. And the darker the night, the closer it is to dawn,” he said.
And if we stay united to Jesus, “the cold of difficult moments does not paralyze us; and if even the whole world preaches against hope, if it says that the future will only bring obscure clouds, the Christian knows that in that same future there is the return of Christ.”
In the end, “everything will be redeemed. Everything,” he said, noting that there will be suffering and times when “anger and indignation come out.” However, “the sweet and powerful memory of Christ will dispel the temptation to think that this life is wrong.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims during his Oct. 11 general audience in St. Peter’s square, continuing his catechesis on Christian hope. In this week’s speech, he focused on an aspect of hope he called “vigilant waiting.”
Vigilance “is one of the wires of the New Testament,” he said, and pointed to a passage in the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus tells his disciples: “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks.”
After Jesus’ resurrection, moments of serenity and anguish seemed to “continually alternate,” he said, but noted that despite times of confusion and uncertainty, “Christians never gave up.”
Today too, the world “demands our responsibility, and we take it all and with love,” Pope Francis said. “Jesus wants our existence to be laborious, that we never let our guard down, to welcome with gratitude and wonder every new day given to us by God.”
Every morning is like “a blank page,” he said, which Christians must write with “good works.”
When Jesus returns, “we need to be ready for salvation when it arrives, ready for the encounter” with the Lord, he said, and asked pilgrims in off-the-cuff remarks: “have you thought what that encounter with Jesus will be like, when he comes?”
This encounter, he said, “will be an embrace, an enormous joy, a great joy! We must live in anticipation of this encounter!”
And after having an encounter with Jesus, “we cannot do anything but scrutinize history with trust and hope,” he said.
Using the image of a house, Francis said Jesus is the structure of the house and we are inside, looking at the world from the windows. Because of this, “we do not close in on ourselves, we do not regret with melancholy a past presumed to be golden,” he said.
Instead, “we always look forward, to a future which is not only the work of our hands, but which above all is a constant concern of God’s providence,” he said, adding that “everything that is opaque one day will become light.”
God does not go back on his word, and he “never disappoints,” the Pope said. Rather, the Lord’s will for us “is never nebulous, but is a well-outlined project of salvation.”
“Because of this we do not abandon ourselves to the flow of events with pessimism, as if history were a train that has lost control,” he said, stressing that “resignation is not a Christian virtue.
Nor is it the task of Christians to shrug their shoulders or “bend their backs” in front of a future that seems “inevitable.”
“Those who bring hope to the world are never never remorseful people,” he said, explaining that no one can build peace with “our arms folded.”
‘”There is no builder of peace who in the final count has not compromised their personal peace, taking on the problems of others,” he said, adding that “the remorseful person is not a builder of peace but is lazy, is one who wants to be comfortable.”
Christians, on the other hand, build peace “when it’s risky, when they have the courage to take risks in order to bring good, the good that Jesus has given to us, has given to us as a treasure.”
Pope Francis closed his audience saying the “refrain” of every Christian existence is that “in our world we need nothing but the caress of Christ.”
“What a grace if, in prayer, in the hard days of this life, we hear his voice responding reassuring us: ‘Behold, I will come soon.’”