MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
Courageous in our weakness
2 July 2013
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n.
28, 10 July 2013)
fear, and finally, grace,
are four situations that can
occur when you are faced
with a difficulty, said the
Pope in his homily. Present
at the Mass among others
were the officials and staff
of the Apostolic
Penitentiary accompanied by
Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de
Castro, Major Penitentiary,
who concelebrated with the
Pope, and students from the
Academy with Archbishop
Beniamino Stella, President,
who also concelebrated.
The Holy Father drew from the day’s Readings (Gen 19:15-29, Ps 25, Mt
8:23-27) saying that to reflect on the four possible attitudes with which one
may deal with difficult situations would do us good. The first attitude is
illustrated by the “slowness” of Lot’s reaction when the angel tells him to
leave the city, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was determined
to leave, but when the time came he was cautious and “lingered”, even when the
angel had urged him to flee. “It is very hard to cut ties with a sinful
situation. It is hard!... But the voice of God tells us this word: Flee! You
cannot fight here, because the fire, the sulfur will kill you. Flee!”. The Pope
emphasized the importance of escaping from sin without nostalgia, so that we may
“go forward on the path of Jesus”.
The second attitude is also based on the story of Lot's escape. “The angel”,
the Pope said, “told him: Flee for your life, do not look back, go forward”.
Here we are given the advice to “overcome the nostalgia for sin”. The Holy
Father also quoted the Exodus of the People of God in the desert, stressing that
“they had everything, promises of the Lord, everything”, and yet they continued
to have nostalgia for the “onions of Egypt”, forgetting that they had eaten them
on “the table of slavery”. The angel's advice, the Pope said, “is wise: Do not
look back! Keep going!”. We must “leave behind all nostalgia, because there is
also the temptation of curiosity.... We must flee and not look back, “for we are
all weak and must protect ourselves”.
The third attitude Pope Francis addressed was fear. He referred to the
episode of the Apostles in the boat recounted in Matthew’s Gospel. When there is
a storm at sea, waves swamp the boat. “Save us, Lord, we are perishing!” they
say. Fear is also a temptation of the devil: to be afraid to continue on the
Lord’s path. Fear, however, said the Pope, “is not a good counselor”. Jesus, he
added, “said so many times: “Do not be afraid’”.
The fourth attitude “is the grace of the Holy Spirit”. When Jesus calms the
sea, the disciples on the boat are filled with awe. When “faced with sin,
nostalgia, fear”, said the Pope, we must always “look at the Lord” and
“contemplate the Lord”. We must say: “Save us Lord, we are perishing”. He
concluded by saying, “yes we are weak, but we must be courageous in our weakness”.