From the Catholic News Agency’s report on Tuesday morning Mass with Pope Francis:
Reflecting on how St. Paul endured pain for Christ, Pope Francis said that good Christians do not complain about their trials but endure them with patient silence because their hearts are at peace.
A Christian “who constantly complains, fails to be a good Christian: they become Mr. or Mrs. Whiner, no? Because they always complain about everything, right?” the Pope remarked in his May 7 homily at St. Martha’s residence.
The Christian response to suffering is “silence in endurance, silence in patience,” he stated.
During his Passion, the Pope noted, Jesus “did not speak much, only two or three necessary words … But it is not a sad silence: the silence of bearing the Cross is not a sad silence. It is painful, often very painful, but it is not sad. The heart is at peace.”
While reflecting on Paul and Silas in jail, from the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis said:
Being patient: that is the path that Jesus also teaches us Christians. Being patient … This does not mean being sad. No, no, it’s another thing! This means bearing, carrying the weight of difficulties, the weight of contradictions, the weight of tribulations on our shoulders. This Christian attitude of bearing up: of being patient. That which is described in the Bible by a Greek word, that is so complete, Hypomoné, in life bearing ever day tasks; contradictions; tribulations, all of this. These — Paul and Silas — bear their tribulations, endure the humiliation: Jesus bore them, he was patience. This is a process – allow me this word ‘process’ – a process of Christian maturity, through the path of patience. A process that takes some time, that you cannot undergo from one day to another: it evolves over a lifetime arriving at Christian maturity. It is like a good wine.
Silence. EVEN WITH ALL THE NOISE. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF ALL THE NOISE.
it is not a sad silence: the silence of bearing the Cross is not a sad silence. It is painful, often very painful, but it is not sad. The heart is at peace. Paul and Silas were praying in peace. They were in pain, because then it is said that the jailer washed their wounds while they were in prison – they had wounds – but endured in peace. This journey of endurance helps us deepen Christian peace, it makes us stronger in Jesus.
In a homily in 2009, this same priest said: “Life is beautiful, but life is onerous. Always.”
In confronting the truth about what God wants for us, we must never forget to be honest about the pain and the sacrifice. Holy Thursday, Good Friday — these can’t be once a year reflection points for Christians. Forgetting how Christ got to the point of the empty tomb isn’t real Christianity and isn’t going to resonate.
We are a joyous Easter people, accepting our crosses in love and hope. But we’ve got to be honest about it all –- about pain and sacrifice — or it just won’t seem real to people and we won’t be evangelizers.
The Holy Father said:
The patient is the one that, in the long run, is younger! Just think of those elderly people in the hospices, those who have endured so much in life: Look at their eyes, young eyes, they have a youthful spirit and a renewed youth. And the Lord invites us to this: to be rejuvenated Easter people on a journey of love, patience, enduring our tribulations and also – I would say – putting up with one another. We must also do this with charity and love, because if I have to put up with you, I’m sure you will put up with me and in this way we will move forward on our journey on the path of Jesus. Let us ask the Lord for the grace of Christian endurance that gives us peace, this bearing things with a good heart, this joyful bearing to become younger and younger, like good wine: younger with this renewed Easter youth of the spirit. So be it.
We can be like good wine, at the reception to the eternal wedding feast!