"Do not let your remorse dry up..."
VATICAN CITY — True repentance is the key to the door of mercy, Pope Francis said on Friday.
Addressing members of the Romano Guardini Foundation in Rome to take part in a conference sponsored by the Pontifical Gregorian University marking the 130th anniversary of the birth of the Catholic priest and theologian born in Verona, Italy, and raised in Mainz, Germany, the pope called Fr. Romano Guardini “one of the great lights of 20th century Catholic intellectual life.”
The Holy Father’s remarks to the participants turned on two central themes of Guardini’s theological work: true repentance as the condition for the efficacy of grace in our lives and in the world; and the need to cultivate docility to the divine will in order to enter into what the theologian calls, “a living unity” with God.
Quoting the words Dostoyevsky gave to his mystic priest-healer Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov, to speak to a woman who had taken the life of her abusive husband when he was sick, Pope Francis said: “Do not fear. Never fear, and do not be sad, so long as your remorse does not dry up, God forgives everything. There is no sin on the whole earth that God will not forgive if you show true remorse. Nor can man commit a sin that is too great for God’s infinite love.’”
“In [sacramental] Confession the woman was transformed and received new hope,” the pope said.
Pope Francis went on to explain that the “living unity” with God made possible through openness to grace and docility to his will for us, is realized not in isolation, but in society—in belonging to a people, which is not a mere mass of humanity, but a real community founded on and living through conscious concord regarding the beautiful, the true and the good.
Again quoting Guardini, Pope Francis explained that a people is, “the compendium of all that in mankind is genuine, profound, substantial.” Thus, “The individual feels himself woven into a people, that is, in an ‘original union of human beings, who, by species, country and historical evolution in life and in [their] destinies are a unique whole.’”
The Holy Father concluded, saying: “I am convinced that Guardini is a thinker who has much to say to the men and women of our time, and not only to Christians.” He praised the work of the Guardini Foundation, saying, “You are realizing this project of bringing Guardini’s thought into conversation with the spheres of politics, culture and science of today.”