Pope Francis expressed this advice during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, as he continued his series of catecheses on the theme of Christian hope.
The Holy Father drew inspiration from the Scriptures teaching that along with authentic hope, born of trust in God’s word, we can be tempted by false hopes and worldly idols, like money, power or physical beauty.
During his remarks, Francis departed from his text to lament how a women he knew in Argentina, who was very beautiful, said that she had an abortion because she would not risk that having the baby, would make her body less attractive.
“Hope in God demands strength and perseverance, whereas these false gods promise an easy security, a future we can control.”
Recalling the Psalm’s message from this morning’s reading, Francis stressed: “If one places one’s hope in idols, one becomes like them: empty images with hands that do not touch, feet that do not walk, mouths that cannot speak.”
When this happens, he lamented, people lose their ability to speak, help, change things, smile, give of themselves, and love.
“And we also, men of the Church, run this risk when we become ‘worldly.’ It is necessary to remain in the world, but to defend oneself from the illusions of the world,” he warned.
As the Psalm continues, the Jesuit Pope highlighted, “it is necessary to trust and hope in God, and God will give a blessing.”
By trusting in God’s word and hoping in His promises, he encouraged, we become more and more like Him, sharing in His life and rejoicing in His provident care. Stressing that the Lord is always mindful of us, Francis noted that this is the case even in awful moments.
“While hope “never” disappoints, he warned that idols “always” disappoint,” he stressed. “They are fantasies, not reality. Behold the stupendous reality of hope: trusting in the Lord one becomes like Him, His blessing transforms us into His children, who share His life.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying that hope in God “makes us enter, so to speak, into being always actively remembered by Him, which blesses us and saves us.”
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