The Christian carries the burdens of life without losing peace…
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on the gift of peace promised by Christ to His Apostles as He prepared to leave them.
Recalling today’s first reading which recounted the trials and persecutions suffered by St Paul, Francis tried to reconcile this with the peace that Jesus during the Last Supper, in today’s Gospel, promised His disciples, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you.”
While Francis acknowledged that a “life of persecution and tribulations seems to be a life without peace,” he recalled the last of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”
“The peace of Jesus,” Francis pointed out, “goes with this life of persecution, of tribulation. A peace that is deep down, deep down, very profound to all these things. A peace that no one can touch, a peace that is a gift, like the sea that deep down is tranquil, while on the surface there are waves.”
“Living in peace with Jesus,” the Pope underscored, “is having this experience within, which remains during all trials, all difficulties, all ‘tribulations.’”
Despite all the burdens one may carry, a Christian–Francis stressed–carries them without losing their peace.
The Holy Father said that this is the only way we can understand how so many saints lived their final moments without losing peace, to the point that witnesses would say they went to their martyrdom “like guests to a wedding.”
“This is the gift of the “peace of Jesus”, he said, that we cannot obtain through human means, like going to a doctor or taking anti-anxiety drugs. This peace is something different, which comes from “the Holy Spirit within us”, and that brings with it ‘strength.’”
Pope Francis gave the example of a hard-working man he met who, because of an illness, had to give up all his plans, but managed to remain at peace. “This is a Christian”, the Pope explained.
“Peace, the peace of Jesus,” the Pope said, “teaches us to go forward in life. It teaches us to endure. To endure: a word we don’t understand well, a very Christian word, it means to carry a burden.”
Despite burdens, peace
This Francis highlighted means managing “to endure, carry the burden of life, the difficulties, the labor, everything,” but “without losing peace,” “rather bearing the burden and having the courage to go forward.”
Francis said this “can only be understood when there is the Holy Spirit within, who gives us the peace of Jesus.”
On the other hand, Pope Francis said, if we get caught up in a kind of “fervent nervousness” and lose this peace, “there is something that isn’t working.”
Peace, the Argentine Pontiff stressed, doesn’t mean losing one’s sense of humor. He encouraged us to face the greatest difficulties of life with this “gift promised by Jesus,” rather than that false peace that comes from the world, or from having money in the bank.
Even when things dark, smiling with one’s heart
Going beyond the day’s readings, Pope Francis invited us to go forward in life with an even greater capacity, the ability to “make the heart smile”.
“The person who lives this peace never loses their sense of humor,” They know how to smile at themselves, at others.”
“Even when things are dark they know how to smile at everything,” he said, noting one does this with the “sense of humor which is very close to the grace of God. The peace of Jesus in daily life, the peace of Jesus in tribulations and with that little sense of humor that helps us breathe easier.”
Pope Francis concluded, giving the following invitation: “May the Lord grant us this peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, this peace that comes precisely from Him, and that helps us to endure, to carry, the many difficulties in life.”