02/01/2019, 14.01
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Pope: in times of persecution and desolation, persevere in hope

We all go through "dark moments" in which things seem to lose meaning, but it is then that Christians must "persevere" to "reach the promise" of the Lord, without "letting oneself fall" or "going backwards". And even "when the devil attacks us with temptations", "with our miseries", we must "always look to the Lord".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The memory of our first encounter with Jesus gives hope to many Christians who even today "suffer for the faith", such as those to whom the Letter to the Jews addressed the exhortation to "persevere", Pope Francis said at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the first reading (Heb 10: 32-39), "a catechesis on perseverance: persevering on the path of faith, persevering in the service of the Lord" .

It is when desolation and dark moments make one lose the meaning of things that Christians must persevere in order to reach the promise of the Lord without falling down or retreating. He was referring to the Letter to the Hebrews, whose author addressed Christians passing through a dark moment of persecution, just as every individual goes through, including Jesus who experienced moments of desolation.

The Pope said Christian life is not a carnival or a continuous feast and joy.  It has good times as well as ugly ones, moments of warmth and of detachment, where not everything has meaning... moments of desolation. “It is during a moment of internal persecution and inner state of the soul that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews urges Christians to perseverance". “You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.”  One needs perseverance to reach the promise. 

Pope Francis then focused on two things, or a recipe, that help us fight desolation: memory and hope. Like the apostle, he pointed out that one must first of all recall the beautiful moments, the happy days of our encounter with the Lord, the time of love. And, secondly, we must have hope for what has been promised us.  With life consisting of good and bad times, the Pontiff said it is important not to "allow oneself to fall" and "go back" in moments of difficulty.

The Pope urged Christians not to give in to bad times, urging them to endure in memory and hope - an endurance of the heart which, he said, recalls good times and "breathes when looking up to hope". Finding the consolation of the promise of the Lord is what we must do in moments of desolation. Speaking about perseverance, the Holy Father recalled his apostolic visit to Lithuania, in September 2018, where he said he was moved by the courage of so many Christians and martyrs who persevered in faith.

The Pope noted that even today, many men and women suffer for their faith but remember the first encounter with Jesus and gain hope and go ahead. “Perseverance”, the Pope said, “is the advice of the author of the Letter to the Hebrews to Christians in times of persecution and attacks. Finally he urged Christians to always look to the Lord when the devil attacks us with temptations.  With our miseries, he said, we must always look to the Lord, have "the perseverance of the Cross recalling the first beautiful moments of love, of our encounter with the Lord and the hope that awaits us.

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