Vatican City, 17 May 2014 (VIS) –, This morning the Holy Father received in audience the Silent Workers of the Cross Association – Volunteer Centres of Suffering, on their pilgrimage to Rome to commemorate the centenary of the birth of their founder, Blessed Luigi Novarese. Pope Francis began by recalling one of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”, and commented that “with this prophetic word Jesus referred to a condition of earthly life that no-one fails to experience”.
“There are those who mourn because they are in ill-health; there are those who weep because they are alone or misunderstood. There are many reasons for suffering. Jesus experienced affliction and humiliation in this world. He gathered together human sufferings, He took them on in His flesh, He lived them in full, one by one. He knew every type of affliction, both moral and physical. … He experienced hunger and fatigue, the bitterness of being misunderstood, He was betrayed and abandoned, flogged and crucified. But in declaring 'blessed those who mourn', Jesus did not intend to declare happy an unfavourable or onerous condition of life. Suffering is not a value itself, but rather a reality that Jesus teaches us to approach with the right attitude”.
Pope Francis emphasised that there are correct and incorrect ways of living with pain and suffering. “The wrong attitude is that of living pain in a passive way, allowing oneself to be overcome by inertia, and resignation. The reaction of rebellion and denial, too, is not the right approach. Jesus teaches us to experience pain, accepting the reality of life with trust and hope, loving God and neighbour even in suffering: love transforms everything”. He remarked that this is exactly what Blessed Luigi Novarese taught, in “educating the sick and disabled to bring meaning to their suffering as part of an apostolic action carried out with faith and love for others”, and added that with this charism they are “a gift for the Church. … united with the Risen Christ, you are active subjects in the work of salvation and evangelisation”.
In conclusion, Francis encouraged them to “stay close to those who suffer in your parishes, as witnesses to the Resurrection. In this way you enrich the Church and collaborate with the mission of the pastors, praying and offering your suffering also for them”.