Pope: the day of rest is not to 'escape', but to thank God for life
"The industry of distraction flourishes and advertising paints an ideal world of a giant playground where everyone enjoys themselves. The dominant concept of life today does not have the center of gravity in activity and commitment but in evasion". "We need to reconcile ourselves to our own history". "True peace is not to change our personal history but to welcome it and enrich it".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Nowadays, while "the industry of distraction" is flourishing, man does not know how to "rest", according to God’s commandment, he does not know how "to look at reality and to say: life is beautiful! The Decalogue opposes rest as an escape from reality, with rest seen as a blessing of reality". The day of rest, as thanks to God for his gifts, starting with the gift of life, was the topic of Pope Francis’ reflection for today's general audience, in which he continued the cycle of catechesis on Commandments.
Speaking to the 30 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square, Francis spoke about rest "that is God's joy for what He has created. It is the day of contemplation and blessing ", he addressed the exhortation "we need to reconcile ourselves to our own history, with facts that are not accepted, with the difficult parts of our own existence".
"The journey through the Decalogue - the Pope said - brings us today to the commandment on the day of rest. It sounds like an easy command to do, but it's a wrong impression. It really isn’t easy to rest, because there is false rest and true rest. How can we recognize them? Today's society is thirsty for entertainment and holidays. The industry of distraction, listen carefully, the industry of distraction, flourishes and advertising paints an ideal world of a giant playground where everyone enjoys themselves. The dominant concept of life today does not have the center of gravity in activity and commitment but in evasion. Earn money for fun, satisfy yourself. The model image is that of a successful person who can afford wide and different spaces of pleasure. But this mentality slips towards the dissatisfaction of an anesthetized existence of entertainment that is not rest, but alienation and escape from reality. Man has never rested as much as today, yet man has never experienced as much emptiness as today! The possibility of many things: cruises, trips, they do not give you rest ".
"The words of the Decalogue seek and find the heart of the problem, throwing a different light on what rest is. The command has a peculiar element: it provides a motivation. Rest in the name of the Lord has a precise motive: "Because in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and sea and what is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord has blessed the Sabbath and consecrated it "(Exodus 20:11). This refers to the end of creation when God says: "God saw what He had done, and He saw that it was good" (Gen 1:31). And then begins the day of rest, which is God's joy for what He has created. It is the day of contemplation and blessing. What then is rest according to this commandment? It is the moment of contemplation, of praise, not of evasion. It is time to look at reality and say: how beautiful life is! The Decalogue opposes rest as an escape from reality, with rest seen as a blessing of reality. For us Christians, the center of the Lord's Day, Sunday, is the Eucharist, which means 'thanksgiving'. It is the day to say to God: thank you, thank you Lord, thank you for your life, for your mercy, for all your gifts. Sunday is not the day to cancel out the other days but to remember them, bless them and make peace with life. Make peace with life. How many people have the chance to have fun, but they are not at peace with life. Life is precious; it's not easy, sometimes it's painful, but it's precious ".
"Being introduced to authentic repose is a work of God in us, but requires us to move away from the curse and its charm (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 83). It is very easy to bend the heart to unhappiness, in fact, emphasizing reasons for discontent. Blessing and joy imply an openness to the good that is an adult movement of the heart. The good is loving and never imposes itself. It must be chosen. Peace is chosen, it cannot be imposed and cannot be found by chance. Moving away from the bitter folds of his heart, man needs to make peace with that from which he flees. It is necessary to reconcile oneself with one's own history, with facts that are not accepted, with the difficult parts of one's own existence ". "I ask you, each one of you are you reconciled with your history?". "True peace, in fact, is not to change one's own history but to welcome it and enrich it. How many times have we met sick Christians who have consoled us with a serenity that is not found in pleasure-seekers and hedonists! And we have seen humble and poor people rejoice in small graces with a happiness that tasted of eternity ".
"The Lord says in Deuteronomy:" I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, so that you live and your descendants live "(30:19). This choice is the 'fiat' of the Virgin Mary, it is an openness to the Holy Spirit that puts us in the footsteps of Christ, the One who gives himself to the Father in the most dramatic moment and thus takes the path that leads to the Resurrection. When does life become beautiful? When you start to think well of it, whatever our story is. When the gift of a doubt makes its way: that which is all grace, and that holy thought crumbles the inner wall of dissatisfaction, inaugurating authentic rest. Life becomes beautiful when the heart is opened to Providence, and what the Psalm says is true: "My soul rests in God alone" (62: 2) ".
"Always remember - he reiterated in the greeting to the faithful of the Arabic language - that the day of rest for us Christians is a day of blessing and thanksgiving. It is the day to say to God: thank you for life, for your mercy and for all your gifts ".