What is the sin that paralyzes everything? Fear of everything….
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, reflecting on how the day’s Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews exhorts us to live the Christian life with three points of reference: the past, the present, and the future.
The reading, Francis stressed, invites us to ‘remember,’ because “the Christian life does not begin today: it continues today.” Remembering, the Pope said, is “to recall everything,” the good and the bad, without covering up or hiding anything.
“‘Brothers, call to mind those first days’: the days of enthusiasm, of going forward in the faith, when you began to live the faith, the anguished trials… You don’t understand the Christian life, even the spiritual life of each day, without memory. Not only do you not understand: You can’t live in a Christian way without memory. The memory of the salvation of God in my life, the memory of my troubles in my life.
“But how has the Lord saved me from these troubles?” the Pope asked, noting, “Memory is a grace: a grace to ask for. ‘Lord, may I not forget your presence in my life, may I not forget the good moments, also the ugly; the joys and the crosses.’ The Christian is a man of memory.”
Living in the Present
The letter, the Pope said, invites us to live in the present, which is not always pretty, with courage and patience.
“We are sinners,” the Pope explained “He who is first, and he who is later … but we are all sinners. All of us. But we go forward with courage and patience. We don’t remain there, stopped, because this would not make us grow.”
Looking to the Future
The Letter’s author, the Jesuit Pope pointed out, makes us understand that “we are on the journey in expectation of something,”of an encounter with God, and he exhorts us to live by faith.”
“Just as one cannot live a Christian life without memory of the steps taken, one cannot live a Christian life without looking to the future with hope… of the encounter with the Lord. And he uses a beautiful phrase: ‘just a brief moment…’ Eh, life is a breath, eh? It passes.
“When one is young,” the 80-year-old Pope continued, “he thinks he has so much time before him, but then life teaches us that those words that we all say: ‘But how time passes! I knew this person as a child, now they’re getting married! How time passes!’ It comes soon. But the hope of encountering it is a life in tension, between memory and hope, the past and the future.”
Finally, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews urges us not to commit the sin that takes away memory, hope, courage, and patience: faintheartedness (It.: pusillanimità, “pusillanimity”). The fainthearted, Francis explained, are those “who always go backward, who guard themselves too much, who are afraid of everything.”
“It is a sin that doesn’t allow us to go forward, through fear.” But Jesus, the Pope recalled, says, “Don’t be afraid.”
Warning against faintheartedness, Pope Francis concluded, praying, “May the Lord make us grow in memory, make us grow in hope, give us courage and patience each and free us from that which is faintheartedness, being afraid of everything.”