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For the ugliest moments of life, Pope recommends “hope therapy”

AP/EAST NEWS
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At general audience, Francis notes how Jesus asks, listens, gives time … and then restores hope

Pope Francis today recommended some “hope therapy” for seasons of discouragement and disillusion — a treatment he drew from the Gospel account of Jesus’ dialogue with the disciples en route to Emmaus.

“Above all, [Jesus] asks and listens. Our God is not a meddling God,” the pope said at today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square, as he described Christ’s dialogue with the disciples on the way to Emmaus on the morning of the Resurrection.

Francis noted how Jesus gave the pair time to go deep and look at the the bitterness that had enveloped them.

The result, he said, is a “refrain of human existence: ‘We had hoped. But we had hoped. But …’”

“How much sadness, how many defeats, how many failures exist in the life of every person,” the pope said. “Deep down, all of us are a bit like these two disciples. How many times in life we’ve hoped for something. How many times we’ve felt just a step away from happiness only to find ourselves deceived, cast down.

“But Jesus walks. Jesus walks with everyone who is discouraged … and he manages to give hope.”

Francis said that Jesus spoke with the disciples through Scripture, which does not contain stories of “easy heroism.”

“True hope never comes cheap,” he said.

Though this encounter with the disciples is brief, the pope continued, it reflects the mission of the Church, to “listen to each one’s story … to then offer the Word of life.”

The pope added:

“All of us in our lives have had difficult, dark moments, moments in which we walked in sadness, in deep thought, without a clear vision of the future, with nothing but a wall rising before us. And Jesus is always there with us to give us hope, to inflame our hearts and say, ‘Keep going. I’m with you. Keep going.’

“The secret of the road that leads to Emmaus is all of this: That also in the midst of apparent contradictions, we continue to be loved, and that God will never stop loving us. God will walk with us always, always, even in the most painful moments, in the ugliest moments, in the moments of failure: there the Lord is present. And this is our hope. Let us go forward with this hope, because he is beside us, walking with us. Always.”

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