Once they did so, the Pope reminded, they cried again, but tears of joy. This joy is their strength, having been far from their roots, far from their people, Francis noted, they can feel belonging; ‘I’m home.’ I am at home.’
Pope Francis has reminded of the importance of sticking to or recovering one’s roots, especially the spiritual ones.
According to Vatican Radio, he did so today, Oct. 5, 2017, during his daily morning Mass in his residence Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on today’s reading from the Book of Nehemiah.
In it, the prophet tells of Ezra’s reading of the law to the whole assembly of the people before their entering again into Jerusalem, after some 70 years of Babylonian captivity. The Holy Father went on to reflect about the nostalgic tears of Nehemiah, who was cupbearer to the Persian king in Babylon.
The Pope also reflected on the “nostalgia of migrants,” those who are, “far from home and want to return.” After so many years of exile, the roots, he stressed, may have been weakened, but were not lost.
Recovering the roots “means recovering the sense of belonging of a people,” Pope Francis said.
“Without roots,” he continued, “we cannot live: a people without roots or at risk of losing roots, is a sick people.”
“A person without roots, who has forgotten his roots, is sick,” he said. “We must think of this psychological self-exile as a disease: it does so much harm. It takes away the roots. It takes away our belonging.”
We must, Francis insisted, stay attached to our roots, especially our spiritual ones.
Yet, Francis observed, the people persist until they can finally rebuild their city.
The Holy Father invited all those at his Mass to read the Eighth Chapter of Nehemiah and ask themselves too if they have or would embark upon a journey to recover their roots, or whether “they prefer to be closed in on themselves in the soul’s self-imposed exile.”