Catholic World News

Boast of grace and afflictions, Pope says in reflection on St. Paul and hope

February 15, 2017

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his February 15 general audience to a text from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 5:1-5).

“As children we were always taught that it is not good to boast,” Pope Francis said in his address, which he delivered in Paul VI Audience Hall. “For when we boast about who we are or what we have, we disrespect those who are less fortunate. Yet, Saint Paul surprises us by twice telling us to boast.”

First, the Pope explained, St. Paul “tells us to boast of the abundant grace we receive in Jesus Christ through the gift of faith. God has created all things as a gift of love, through which he makes known his plan of salvation fulfilled in Jesus. He invites us to make this grace the cause of all our praise and joy. When we do this, we know God’s peace, which flows into our lives and relationships.”

The Pope continued:

But Saint Paul also tells us to boast of our afflictions. For God’s peace is not the absence of fears, disappointments, or suffering. Rather, it reminds us that God loves us and is always with us. This peace, Saint Paul says, bears patience, for even in the most difficult moments, we know that the mercy and goodness of the Lord remain with us, that nothing can separate us from God.

“Christian hope then is not based on who we are or what we are capable of, but on God’s love for each one of us,” Pope Francis added. “May we be instruments of hope, so that our greatest boast will be of a Father who excludes no one, but opens his home to all. And may we be a people who sustain one another with this message of Christian hope.”


Previous general audiences on hope:

  1. Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people…” (December 7)
  2. Isaiah 52: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings…” (December 14)
  3. Christ’s birth is the source of hope (December 21)
  4. Abraham’s hope against all hope (December 28)
  5. Rachel “is weeping for her children”, but... “there is hope for your descendants” (Jer 31) (January 4)
  6. The false hopes of idols (January 11)
  7. Jonah: hope and prayer (January 18)
  8. Judith, the Courage of a Woman Restores Hope to a People (January 25)
  9. The helmet of hope (1 Thess. 5:4-11) (February 1)
  10. Hope, Source of Mutual Comfort and Peace (1 Thess. 5:12-22) (February 8)
 
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