None of our sufferings are invisible to God, for He always walks before us and accompanies His disciples.
Pope Francis emphasized this during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, today, June 28, 2017, as he continued his catecheses on Christian hope, reflecting specifically this week on martyrs, those who die for their faith in Christ.
“Christians love, but they are not always loved,” the Pope told the faithful, reminding that Jesus warned from the beginning that “confession of faith occurs in an atmosphere of hostility.”
Jesus, the Pontiff reminded, asks His disciples to proclaim the Gospel by their lives of detachment from wealth and power, by their rejection of the spiral of hatred, violence and retaliation, and by their trust in his triumph over the power of sin and death.
As his followers, the Pope stressed, we know that the Lord will never abandon us.
Reminding that Christians travel through this world with hearts full of love, the Pope noted: “The true defeat for him or her is to fall into the temptation of revenge and violence, responding to evil by evil.”
Reminding when Jesus told us, ‘I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves (Mt 10,16),’ the Pope noted that given we have no arms or “claws,” we ought to be cautious and clever.
“But violence never,” he said, stressing, “To defeat evil, you cannot share the methods of evil.”
Noting that the force of a Christian is the Gospel, the Pope said, “in times of difficulty, one must believe that Jesus stands before us, and He never ceases to accompany His disciples.”
Persecution, he said, is not a contradiction to the Gospel, but part of it, as our Master was persecuted.
“In the midst of this, the Pope said, the Christian must not lose hope, thinking he has been abandoned. “Jesus reassures us, saying, ‘Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid (Mt 10:30).'”
None of the sufferings of man, even the most minute and hidden, the Pontiff noted, are invisible to the eyes of God.
“God sees, and surely protects; And will give His ransom,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis concluded, praying that through the martyrs’ example and intercession, “may we become ever more convincing witnesses, above all in the events of our daily lives, to our undying hope in the promises of Christ.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Text of General Audience: to be made available as soon as possible