In his homily on Tuesday Pope Francis said “complaining” to God in times of suffering can be a prayer, but cautioned not to exaggerate our difficulties in front of those undergoing major tragedies. “Our life is too easy, our complaints are overdramatized,” the pontiff told those in the Vatican’s Saint Martha house in his Sept. 30 daily Mass. “Faced with the complaints of so many people, of so many brothers and sisters who are in the dark, who have almost lost all memory, almost lost all hope — who are experiencing this exile from themselves, who are exiled, even from themselves,” our complaints are “nothing!” Turning to the day’s first reading from book of Job, the Bishop of Rome drew attention to how his prayer seems to be a curse after having lost “everything he possessed” and “his body had become a plague, a disgusting plague.” “He had lost all patience and he says these things. They are ugly! But he was always accustomed to speak the truth and this is the truth that he feels at that moment,” the pontiff observed, recalling how the prophet Jeremiah also cursed the day in which he was born. “But is this man blaspheming? This is my question: Is this man who is so very alone, blaspheming? Is it blasphemy when Jesus complains — 'Father, why have You forsaken me?’ This is the mystery.” The Roman Pontiff went on to speak about how he has listened to many “who are experiencing difficult and painful situations, who have lost a great deal or feel lonely and abandoned and they come to complain and ask these questions: Why? Why?” Referring to how they often rebel against God, the Roman Pontiff explained that what he tells them is “Continue to pray just like this, because this is a prayer. It was a prayer when Jesus said to his father: 'Why have You forsaken me!'" Prayer means being truthful before God, he said, adding that we should all “pray with reality” because “true prayer comes from the heart, from the moment that we are living in.” He went on to explain how there are many people in the same situation as Job who “do not understand what has happened to them, or why” as well as “many brothers and sisters who have no hope.” “Just think of the tragedies, the great tragedies, for example, of these brothers and sisters of ours who because they are Christians were driven out of their homes and left with nothing: ‘But, Lord, I have believed in you. Why? Is believing in you a curse, Lord?’” Pope Francis also drew attention to the elderly “who are sidelined,” the sick and the “many lonely people in hospitals,” assuring that the Church constantly offers prayers all who walk in darkness. “The Church prays! She takes this pain upon herself and prays,” he said, noting that are many of us who although we are “are not sick, or hungry, who have no pressing needs,” act “like martyrs and stop praying” as soon as we undergo “a little darkness of soul.” Observing how there are even some who say “I am angry with God, I will not go to Mass,” the pontiff said that when asked why, the answer is usually “Over some trifling thing.” Saint Therese of Lisieux, who celebrates her feast day on Oct. 1, also underwent these trials at the end of her life, he said, noting that in her final moments she “tried to think of heaven, but heard a voice within herself, telling her not to be silly, not to be led astray by fantasies.” “We all go through this situation, we experience this situation. There are so many people who think it all ends in nothing. Yet Saint Therese prayed and asked for strength to persevere in the dark. This is called entering into patience.” Bringing to mind the many who have lost everything or live in exile, the Pope explained that “Jesus walked this path: from sunset on the Mount of Olives to the last word from the Cross: 'Father, why have you forsaken me!” Pope Francis concluded his homily by giving two suggestions which can help us in moments of darkness, the first being “to prepare ourselves for when the darkness comes.” Secondly, we should “Pray, pray as the Church prays; pray with the Church for so many brothers and sisters who suffer exile from themselves, who are in darkness and suffering, without hope at hand.” This, he said, “is the prayer of the Church for these Suffering Jesus’ who are everywhere.”
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