“There are the afflicted to console, but sometimes there are also the consoled to afflict,” quipped Pope Francis as he continued his catechesis series on the Beatitudes, considering “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” There are those who “have a heart of stone and have forgotten how to weep,” Francis said, and there is a need to “reawaken people who do not know how to be moved by the pain of others.”
In reflecting on the second beatitude, the pope explained that in the Greek, the verb is active, not passive. It is not that the blessed are subjected to mourning, but rather that they grieve and weep, inwardly.
It is an attitude that became central to Christian spirituality and which the desert fathers, the first monks in history, called “penthos,” that is, an inner pain that opens up to a relationship with the Lord and with one’s neighbor; a renewed relationship with the Lord and with one’s neighbor.
The pope explained that this mourning, as Scripture understands it, is expressed at the death or suffering of another. But it can also be expressed over sin: “tears shed over sin – for our own sin, when the heart bleeds for the pain of having offended God and one’s neighbor.”
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