Share hope with those seeking better lives, pope says

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The same hope that moves people to
seek a better life for themselves and their loved ones also moves the hearts of
men and women to welcome migrants and refugees with open arms, Pope Francis

“Those who come to our land and we who go toward their
heart to understand them, to understand their culture and language” embark
on a shared journey that “without hope cannot be done,” the pope said
Sept. 27 at his weekly general audience.

“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to share the
journey! Do not be afraid to share hope,” he said.

During the audience, Pope Francis launched the “Share
the Journey” campaign, an initiative sponsored by Caritas Internationalis,
the global network of Catholic charitable agencies.

The campaign encourages Catholics to understand, get to know and welcome refugees
and migrants.

Continuing his series of audience talks on Christian hope, the pope
reflected on the enemies of hope who, like the Greek myth of Pandora’s box,
“unleash so many misfortunes throughout the world’s history.”

However, he said, few people
remember that at the end of the story, the final item unleashed from the box is
hope, which is what “sustains life, protects it, cares for it and makes it

“If humankind had not cultivated hope, if they had not
been sustained by this virtue, they would have remained in the caves and would
not leave their mark in world history,” the pope said. Hope “is the
most divine thing that exists in the human heart.”

the poor tend to be “the bearers of hope,” he said, there are
others, especially young men and women, who may have the “misfortune”
of having everything, but
who are not taught the “virtue of waiting and patience.”

“They are destined to the worst punishment: that of not
desiring anything,” he said. “To close the door to desires, to dreams — they look young,
but instead autumn has already fallen in their hearts. They are the youths of

This emptiness of the soul, he added, is an obstacle to hope
and leads
Christians to fall into the
temptation that ancient
monks would call “the midday devil.”

“This temptation surprises us when we least expect it:
the days become dull and boring,” and nothing seems worthy of one’s fatigue,
he said. “This attitude is called sloth; it erodes life from within until it becomes an
empty shell.”

Pope Francis urged Christians to keep hope alive and fight
against desperation through Jesus “who can open wide the doors” and
“look beyond the horizon.

“If Jesus conquered the world, he is able to conquer
within us all that stands in the way of goodness,” the pope said. “If
God is with us, no one can rob us of the virtue we absolutely need to live. No
one will rob us of hope.”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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