Panama City, Panama, Jan 26, 2019 / 07:54 am (CNA).- Pope Francis said Saturday that he recognized the weariness felt in the priesthood and in religious communities due to the sins that wound the Church today.
“Weariness of hope comes from seeing a Church wounded by sin, which so often failed to hear all those cries that echoed the cry of the Master: ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’” Pope Francis said in a homily in Panama Jan. 26.
The pope celebrated a morning Mass with priests, consecrated persons, and members of lay movements gathered in Panama for World Youth Day Jan. 22-27.
“Let us open the door and let our wearied hope return without fear to the deep well of our first love, when Jesus passed our way, gazed at us with mercy and asked us to follow him,” Pope Francis encouraged.
His homily in Panama City’s newly renovated Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua focused on a description of Jesus’ fatigue found in the Gospel of John: “Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well.”
“The Lord knew what it was to be tired, and in his weariness so many struggles of our nations and peoples, our communities and all who are weary and heavily burdened can find a place,” Pope Francis said.
“There are many reasons for weariness on our journey as priests, consecrated men and women, and members of lay movements: from long hours of work, which leave little time to eat, rest and be with family, to ‘toxic’ working conditions and relationships that lead to exhaustion and disappointment,” he continued.
“Like the Samaritan woman who for years had been carrying the empty pitchers of failed loves, we know that not just any word can help us regain energy and prophecy in our mission. Not just any novelty, however alluring it may seem, can quench our thirst,” Francis said.
The pope warned against a particular type of weariness that “calls into question the energy, resources and viability of our mission in this changing and challenging world.”
“It is a weariness that paralyzes. It comes from looking ahead and not knowing how to react to the intense and confusing changes that we as a society are experiencing,” he said.
Pope Francis called this doubt in God and in religious vocations’ contribution to the modern world “one of the worst heresies possible in our time.”
“Weariness of hope” can “lodge in the heart of our communities,” he explained. “Everything apparently goes on as usual, but in reality, faith is crumbling and failing.”
Pope Francis reminded those with vocations “how the Spirit inspired … the founders of your institutes and the bishops and priests who laid the basis for your communities.”
Through these “saints next door,” the Holy Spirit “gave life and fresh breath to a particular moment of history when all hope and dignity seemed to be stifled and crushed,” he said.
“A wearied hope will be healed … when it is unafraid to return to the place of its first love and to find, in the peripheries and challenges before us today, the same song, the same gaze that inspired the song and the gaze of those who have gone before us,” Pope Francis said.
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