VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In good times and in bad, prayer and patience can keep hope alive, Pope Francis said.
God is close to those who suffer with patient hope and helps Christians see truly “beautiful moments” in times of darkness, the pope said June 9 in his homily during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Pope Francis said he was speaking about “authentically beautiful moments, not those moments with cosmetic beauty, which is all artificial; it is like fireworks, but it is not the beauty of the soul.”
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the Book of Tobit, comparing the struggles faced by Tobit, who suffered due to blindness, and Sarah, Tobit’s future daughter-in-law who lost seven husbands.
Even though they were known for their piety, both passed through “dark moments” that tested their patience and their faith in God, he said.
Both reached the point where they actually thought it might be better to be dead, the pope said.
But “Sarah thought, ‘If I hang myself, will I make my parents suffer?’ and she stops and prays,” the pope said. “Tobit said, ‘This is my life, let’s keep going,’ and he prays and prays. This is the behavior that saves us from bad moments: prayer.”
Tobit and Sarah, he continued, were “patient with their pain” and kept alive the hope that God was present in the midst of their sufferings.
They held fast to “the hope that God hears us and ensures we pass through these bad moments. In moments of sadness whether great or small, in dark moments: prayer, patience and hope. Do not forget this,” the pope said.
Pope Francis called on Christians to reflect on what happens in their souls during dark times and whether they can accept trials as a “necessary” cross to bear rather than fall prey to the “vanity” of artificially beautiful moments in life.
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Prayer and patience – they move mountains. These were the tools used by India’s Mahatma Gandhi in his service to humanity.