VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 24, 2017 (Zenit.org).- To be a good Christian, to go to Mass on Sunday, to do works of mercy, to recite prayers, to educate one’s children well . . . All this is very good, but something is missing: “Have you entered into the mystery of Jesus Christ?” – was the key question that Pope Francis addressed today, Tuesday, October 24, 2017, to those present in the Chapel of the “Domus Sanctae Marthe” and to believers in general.
In his reflection, reported by Vatican Radio’s Italian program, the Pontiff paused on today’s First Reading, in the Letter to the Romans (5:12.15.17 – 19:20-21), in which the Apostle Paul, conscious of the fact that words aren’t sufficient to explain Jesus, “pushes us,” rather “flings us so that we fall into the mystery,” so “superabundant” and “generous” of the Son of God.
To “enter into Jesus’ mystery,” one must let oneself go into the abyss of mercy where there aren’t words, only “love’s embrace,” the same “love that led Him to death for us,” explained the Holy Father.
Therefore, one could also recite the whole Creed, the whole Catechism, however, “to understand the mystery of Jesus Christ is not something of study,” because “Jesus Christ is understood only by pure grace.”
The same when “we go to Confession [. . .], we say our sins to the Confessor and we are at peace and happy.” Here too, however, “if we do thus, we haven’t entered into the mystery of Jesus Christ,” warned the Pope. In fact, if I go there, I go to encounter Jesus Christ, to enter into the mystery of Jesus Christ, to enter into that embrace of forgiveness of which Paul speaks.”
There is a pious exercise that helps to enter into the mystery of Jesus: to do the Way of the Cross.” One can “do it at home, thinking of the moments of the Lord’s Passion. The great Saints too always counselled to begin the spiritual life with this encounter with the mystery of Jesus Crucified,” suggested the Pontiff.
Saint Teresa of Avila advised her nuns to do so, recalled Jorge Bergoglio. “To arrive at contemplative prayer” one should “begin with a meditation on the Lord’s Passion, the cross with Christ, Christ on the Cross. To begin and to think, and thus try to understand with the heart that ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me,’ ‘He gave Himself to death for me.’”
Therefore, exhorted the Holy Father, who described the Crucifix as “icon of the greatest mystery of Creation” and “center of History, center of my life,” “let us ask Saint Paul, a true witness, one who encountered Jesus Christ and let himself be found by Him,” “to give us the grace to enter into the mystery of Jesus Christ,” He who “loved us, gave Himself to death for us, who has justified us before God, who has forgiven all sins, even the root of sin,” concluded the Pontiff.
ZENIT translation by Virginia M. Forrester