By Jim Fair

“I have spoken often of the gift of tears, and how precious it is. Can one love coldly? Can one love out of function, out of duty? Certainly not; there are the afflicted to console, but sometimes there are also the consoled to be afflicted, to awaken the people that are unable to be moved by others’ pain.”

Pope Francis made these remarks during his commentary on the Beatitudes, presented at his February 12, 2020, General Audience in Paul VI Hall. He continued his journey through the Beatitudes, this day focusing on the second Beatitude: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

“In the Greek language, in which the Gospel is written, this Beatitude is expressed with a verb that isn’t the passive — in fact, the Blessed don’t suffer this mourning — but in the active: they are afflicted,” the Pope reminded the audience of pilgrims gathered from around the world to hear his teaching. “They mourn but from within. It’s an attitude that became central in Christian spirituality and that the Desert Fathers, the first monks of history, called penthos, an interior sorrow that opens to a relationship with the Lord and with one’s neighbor — to a renewed relationship with the Lord and with one’s neighbor.”

Pope Francis stressed that mourning arises from two places. First, it can come from the death or suffering of someone. Second, it can come from the pain of one’s own sin.

“Mourning…is a bitter path, but it can be useful to open the eyes on life and on the sacred and irreplaceable value of every person, and in that moment one realizes how brief time is,” Francis said.

The Holy Father’s Full Commentary

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