MESSAGE FROM THE POPE | Without Christian hope, a virtuous life seems futile | Articles

MESSAGE FROM THE POPE |  Without Christian hope, a virtuous life seems futile |  Articles

VATICAN CITY — The world is in great need of hope and patience, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience.

Those who are patient “are weavers of kindness. They stubbornly desire peace, and although others are in a hurry and want it now, patience is able to wait,” he said.

“Even when many around us have succumbed to disillusionment, those who are inspired by hope and who are patient are able to get through the darkest nights,” he said in St. Peter’s Square on 8 May, feast of Our Lady of Luján, patroness of Argentina. Before giving his catechesis, the pope prayed for a few moments in front of a small statue of Our Lady of Luján placed with two small bouquets of flowers to the right of his chair.

The pope continued his series of lectures on vices and virtues by reflecting on the “theological” or New Testament virtue of hope.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the pope noted, says: “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in the promises of Christ and in relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Life without meaning breeds sadness and despair, he says.

“Many may rebel” by insisting that they “strove to be virtuous, prudent, just, strong, temperate,” the pope said. They declare: “I have also been a man or woman of faith… What was the point of my fight if everything ends there?

“If hope is lacking, all other virtues risk collapsing and ending in ashes. If there were no reliable future, no bright horizon, it would be enough to conclude that virtue is a vain effort,” the pope said.

Christian hope “is not an obstinacy that we want to convince ourselves of, but it is a gift that comes directly from God,” he declared. It is a belief in the future “because Christ died and rose again and gave us his spirit.”

“If you believe in the resurrection of Christ, then you know for sure that no defeat or death is eternal,” he said.

However, the pope said, “hope is a virtue against which we often sin: in our bad nostalgia, in our melancholy, when we think that the happiness of the past is buried forever.”

“We sin against hope when we become discouraged by our sins, forgetting that God is merciful and greater than our hearts,” he said, emphasizing that “God forgives all; God always forgives.

“The world today has great need of this Christian virtue” of hope, he said, “just as it needs patience, a virtue that walks in close contact with hope.”

The pope asked people to pray for “the grace of hope and patience” and to “always look toward this ultimate encounter; always ensure that the Lord is always near us and that death will never be victorious.