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The Pope Speaks on SORROW

(TAKEN FROM THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS ON VICES AND VIRTUES AT THE WEDNESDAY GENERAL AUDIENCE, STARTING IN DECEMBER, 2023.)

In our catechesis on the virtues and the vices, we now center our attention on spiritual sadness. Saint Paul speaks of a “godly grief” and a “worldly grief” (2 Cor 7:10). The former prompts conversion, enabling us to cling to hope and, therefore, leads to joy. The latter stems from dashed hopes and disappointments, eroding the soul with discouragement and sadness.

There is, therefore, a friendly sadness that leads us to salvation… It is a grace to lament over one’s own sins, to remember the state of grace from which we have fallen, to weep because we have lost the purity in which God dreamed of us.

But there is a second sadness, which is instead an ailment of the soul. It arises in the human heart when a desire or hope vanishes… When this happens, it is as if man’s heart falls from a precipice, and the emotions he feels are discouragement, weakness of spirit, depression and anguish. We all go through ordeals that generate sadness in us, because life makes us conceive dreams that are then shattered. In this situation, after a time of turmoil, some cling to hope, but others wallow in melancholy, allowing it to fester in their hearts.

Unlike most vices that seek fleeting pleasures, sadness indulges itself by wallowing in sorrow, hindering spiritual growth. As an antidote to this kind of despondency, the Desert Fathers recommended embracing Christ’s resurrection; for the risen Jesus redeems all the happiness that has remained unfulfilled in our lives. May faith cast out fear and Christ’s resurrection remove sadness like the stone before his tomb.