Christians Don’t ‘Anesthetize’ Pain But Live Through It
Christians do not “anesthetize” or numb pain, but live through it aware that God gives us a joy that nobody can take away.
According to Vatican Radio, this was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily this morning during his Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father drew his inspiration from the day’s reading where Jesus warns his disciples of a coming sadness, but says it will be transformed later into a cry of joy, and urged faithful to always maintain their joy and hope, even when in times of suffering.
Specifically, the Argentine Pontiff used the example of a woman in labour.
“She’s in pain because her time has come, but when she gives birth to her baby she no longer remembers the suffering.” She carries on hoping throughout the pain, and then she rejoices.
“This is (the impact of) what joy and hope together can have on our lives, when we are facing tribulations, when we have problems, when we are suffering. It is not an anesthesia. Pain is pain but if lived through with joy and hope it will open the door for you to the joy of a new being.
“This image of the Lord should give us great hope amidst our difficulties: difficulties that often are awful, horrible difficulties that can even make us doubt our faith… But with joy and hope we journey forward because after this tempest a new man arrives, just like with a woman giving birth. And Jesus tells us that this is a lasting joy and hope that will not go away.”
Open Self to Joy, Hope
Francis explained that the joy and hope of a Christian are always tied together and they should not be confused with simple happiness or optimism.
“A joy without hope is just enjoyment, a temporary happiness. A hope without joy is not hope and doesn’t extend beyond a healthy optimism.
“Joy and hope always journey together and both of them create this explosion that the Church in her liturgy almost cries out — allow me to say the word — without shame: ‘Rejoice for your Church!, Rejoice – without formality. Because when there is a strong joy, there’s no formality, just joy.”
Joy and hope, the Pope stressed, depend upon each other to flourish and urged Christians to open out towards others with these two virtues.
A Joy That Lasts
“Joyful people do not stay closed in on themselves: hope makes you open outwards, it is just like an anchor on the shore of heaven that pulls us up and out. Open out from ourselves, with joy and hope.”
Human joy can be taken away at any time, the Pope warned, but the joy Jesus gives us is everlasting and nobody can take it away from us
“It remains,” Pope Francis underscored, “even during our darkest moments.”