VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians who do not remember the graces they received by God in the past can lose hope, turning into cowards who buckle in difficult times, Pope Francis said.

A Christian who doesn’t remember the past and hope for the future is a person who “walks down the street and — when an unexpected rain falls — is wearing clothes of bad quality that shrink,” the pope said Jan. 27 during his Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.


“Shrunken souls: This is cowardice. This is the sin against memory, courage, patience and hope,” he said.

The pope reflected on the day’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (10: 32-39), which called on Christians to “remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering.”

Christian life and even one’s daily spiritual life, the pope said, can’t be understood without “the memory of God’s salvation in my life, the memory of woes in my life.”

“Memory is a grace, a grace to ask for,” he said. “‘Lord, may I not forget your steps in my life, may I not forget the good times, even the bad times, the joys and the crosses.’ The Christian is a person of memory.”

Looking to the future “with the hope of an encounter with the Lord” is also necessary for living a Christian life, he said.

The day’s reading, he said, also reminds Christians to live in the present with “courage and patience,” especially in times of suffering and sin.

“We are all sinners,” he said. “But let us not remain there, stopped, because this does not help us to grow.”

Pope Francis warned that not having memory of the past, hope for the future and patience for the present is the “cowardly” sin of those who “always walk backward, who care for themselves too much, who are afraid of everything.”

“May the Lord help us grow in memory, may he make us grow in hope, may he give us courage and patience every day and may he free us from those things that are cowardly,” the pope prayed.