Pope Francis said Sunday that it is important to remember when facing a difficult trial that the “Lord is risen and does not permit darkness to have the last word.”
“At times we go through moments of darkness in our personal, family or social life, and of fear that there is no way out. We feel frightened before great enigmas such as illness, the suffering of the innocent, or the mystery of death,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Feb. 28.
“We need a different outlook, a light that illuminates the mystery of life in depth and … helps us to interpret history beginning with his paschal victory,” the pope said from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that Christians are called to experience an encounter with Jesus so that “illuminated by his light, we might take it and make it shine everywhere.”
“Igniting little lights in people’s hearts; being little lamps of the Gospel that bear a bit of love and hope: this is the mission of a Christian,” he said.
The pope pointed to the Gospel account of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain shortly after he had announced that he would be put to death in Jerusalem.
“He is transfigured before them. His face radiant and his robes shining, an anticipation of the image of the Risen One, offer to those frightened men the light, the light of hope, the light to pass through the darkness: death will not be the end of everything, because it will open to the glory of the Resurrection,” he said.
“As the Apostle Peter exclaimed, it is good to pause with the Lord on the mountain, to experience this ‘preview’ of light in the heart of Lent. It is a call to remember, especially when we pass through a difficult trial -- and so many of you know what it is to go through a difficult trial -- that the Lord is risen and does not permit darkness to have the last word.”
Pope Francis said that in the journey of faith it is common to stumble when “encountering the scandal of the cross and the demands of the Gospel, which calls us to spend our life in service and to lose it in love, rather than preserve it.”
The pope warned against “spiritual laziness,” explaining that the Christian life is not about just experiencing “beautiful spiritual feelings” in prayer.
“Jesus himself brings us back to the valley, amidst our brothers and sisters and into daily life,” Pope Francis said.
“Praying never means avoiding the difficulties of life,” he added.
After praying the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis asked for prayers for schoolgirls who were abducted from their school in Nigeria earlier this week.
“I join my voice to that of the Bishops of Nigeria to condemn the vile kidnapping of 317 girls, taken away from their school, in Jangebe, in the northwest of the country,” the pope said.
“I pray for these girls, that they will soon be able to retun home. ... Let us pray to Our Lady to protect them.”
The pope also expressed his closeness to children suffering from rare diseases, adding that he hopes that they will “feel the caress of God’s love and tenderness.”
“Let us pray to Mary Most Holy, that she may help us to welcome the light of Christ with wonder, to safeguard it and share it,” he said.