During the Mass, which Pope Francis celebrated in the Chapel of Saint Martha’s Residence in the Vatican on September 28, 2017, he invited to have the “courage to “accuse oneself. It’s about not being afraid to “tell the truth about our life,” because the Lord “forgives.”
In his homily, reported by Vatican Radio in Italian, the Holy Father commented on the day’s Gospel (Luke 9:7-9), where Herod sought to see Jesus. He “felt in himself” something that wasn’t “curiosity” but “remorse in his soul . . . in his heart.” He wanted to see Jesus to be reassured.”
Remorse of the conscience isn’t “only remembering something” but “a wound,” “a hidden wound, that’s not seen,” which is the result of something “bad” that man has done in his life.
Sometimes, the Pontiff observed, one “doesn’t see it, because one is used to bearing it and one is anaesthetized. But it’s there, “inside. And “when that wound hurts, we feel remorse. Not only are we conscious of having done wrong, but we feel it: we feel it in our heart, we feel it in our body, in our soul, in our life.”
Putting us on guard against “the temptation to cover it up so as not to feel it any longer,” the Pontiff exhorted to “have the courage,” to “learn the science, the wisdom of accusing oneself. I accuse myself, I feel the pain of the wound, I do everything to know from where that symptom comes and then I accuse myself.”
It’s “a grace to feel that our conscience accuses us, tells us something,” he said. “We must – permit me the expression – ‘baptize’ the wound, that is, give it a name. Where do you have your wound? ‘What should I do, Father, to bring it to the fore?” First of all, pray: ‘Lord, have pity on me for I am a sinner.’ The Lord listens to your prayer. Then examine your life. ‘If I don’t see how and where this suffering is; where it comes from; that there is a symptom, what should I do? Ask for help from someone who can help you . . . to bring the wound to the fore and to give it a name.’”
To give the wound a name, that is, “I have this remorse of conscience because I did that, concretely . . . it’s true humility before God and God is moved in face of what is concrete.
Concluding, Pope Francis invited to “not be afraid of remorse of conscience,” not to seek to “cover it up, to put makeup on it, to dissimulate it, to hide it,” because “”it’s a symptom of health.” It’s necessary “to make the truth come out,” it’s thus that one heals.”
Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano
Santa Marta: Have the Courage to “Accuse Yourself”
“To Tell the Truth about One’s Life”