A Christian who constantly complains, fails to be a good Christian: they become whiners. Christians should endure their difficulties in silence, in patience to bear witness to the joy of Christ. This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily Tuesday morning, during Mass with staff from the Fabric of St. Peter. Emer McCarthy reports:
Commenting on the first reading of the day, Acts chapter 16, Pope Francis said even in troubling times, Christians are full of joy and never sad, like Paul and Silas who were persecuted and imprisoned for witnessing to the Gospel. They were joyful, he said, because they followed Jesus in on the path of his passion. A path the Lord travelled with patience:
“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. ”
The Pope recalled that so many martyrs were joyful, such as the martyrs of Nagasaki who helped each other, as they “waited for the moment of death.” Pope Francis recalled it was of some martyrs that “they went to martyrdom” as if they were going to a “wedding party”. This attitude of endurance, he added, is a Christian’s normal attitude, but it is not a masochistic attitude. It is an attitude that leads them “along the path of Jesus”:
“When the difficulties arrive, so do temptations. For example, the complaint: ‘Look what I have to deal with … a complaint. And 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? Silence in endurance, silence in patience. That silence of Jesus: Jesus in His Passion 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. 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. ”
Thus, concluded Pope Francis, a Christian is called to endure their troubles just like Jesus, “without complaint, endure in peace.” This patience, “renews our youth and makes us younger”.
“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. ”
A Good Christians don’t whine about suffering.