Pope Francis said at the Wednesday weekly General Audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, that at times of sadness from despair and a sense of loss, one can take comfort in Jesus' Resurrection, according to Vatican News.
His reminder is part of his catechesis series on virtues and vices. This week, the Holy Father focused on acedia vel tristitia (Latin), which means the sin of excessive sadness.
He mentioned two forms of sadness.
First is "a sorrow that is appropriate to Christian life and that, with God’s grace, can be changed into joy." He emphasized that this type of sorrow should not be rejected and should be seen as an integral part of the path of conversion.
He gave the example of the Prodigal Son who returned home to his father after feeling great sorrow, which the Holy Father said is "a grace." Even weeping is a grace because it means losing one’s purity, which God wanted for everyone, he said.
The second form of sadness "must be fought resolutely and with every strength, because it comes from the evil one," said Pope Francis.
Calling it an "ailment of the soul," he gave as a sample the experience of the disciples of Emmaus in St. Luke's Gospel of Luke when they lamented Jesus' loss.
"Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death" (2 Cor 7:10), said St. Paul, said Pope Francis.
"We all go through ordeals that generate sorrow in us because life makes us conceive dreams that are then shattered," said the Pope.
He pointed out that after our internal turmoil, some people cannot move beyond sadness, discouragement, weakness of the spirit, and depression, while others can find hope.
Thus, Pope Francis encouraged seeking comfort in their faith and Jesus' closeness.
"Certain protracted griefs, where a person continues to expand the void of one who is no longer there, are not proper to live in the Spirit," the Pope said, noting it isn't healthy and is not proper to our Christian identity.
While he admitted there is something in everyone’s past that needs to be healed and that sadness is natural, he warned it can turn into something devious and dangerous.
“Sorrow can be combatted easily, keeping in mind the thought of the Resurrection of Christ,” said Pope Francis.
He further quoted the Scriptures. "Jesus rose again not only for Himself but also for us, to redeem all the happiness that has remained unfulfilled in our lives."
"Faith casts out fear, and the Resurrection of Christ “removes sadness like the stone from the tomb."
It is the Spirit of the Risen Jesus that helps defeat sorrow with holiness, said Pope Francis, adding that every Christian’s day can be an exercise in resurrection. (MTV)
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