Pope at Angelus: Like little children learning to walk, let God take you by the hand

During his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis calls on faithful to do as they did when they were little children learning how to walk, by letting God take them by the hand and lead the way, even when they fall or feel discouraged.

Mar 27, 2023

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
"Get up, get back on the path, regain confidence! ... I will take you by the hand, like when you were a child learning to take your first steps," Jesus tells us, insisted Pope Francis during his Sunday Angelus address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Holy Father gave these words of comfort as he stressed the Lord's incredible power to restore us, even when all seems lost, as he offered his customary reflections on the day's Gospel, which, this fifth Sunday of Lent, presents us with the resurrection of Lazarus, the last of the miracles of Jesus narrated before Easter.

"We can therefore say that we are at the culmination of his "signs," when Jesus brings his dear friend Lazarus, back to life, even when all hope seems lost," he said.

Jesus gives life, even when hope seems gone
Jesus, the Pope underscored, gives life even when there seems to be no more hope.

The Holy Father recalled how easy it is to feel hopeless, or to meet people who have given up hope: because of a painful loss, an illness, a bitter disappointment, a wrong or betrayal suffered, a serious mistake made. At these moments, he said, life often seems like a closed tomb, where everything is dark, and all around, one sees only sorrow and despair.

However, Jesus, today, Pope Francis argued, tells us this is not the case.

Instead, he said, Jesus insists that, at these hard moments, we are not alone.

"On the contrary," the Holy Father recalled, "it is precisely in these moments that He comes closer than ever to restore us to life."

Don't be crushed by negative feelings
Jesus, Pope Francis said, invites us to continue believing and hoping, to not "let ourselves be crushed by negative feelings." Rather, he tells us to not be weighed down by "the pain, the mistakes, and even the failures," and to not "hide them inside, in a dark, lonely, closed room."

“Remove the stone: take out everything that is inside, throw it to me with confidence, without fear, because I am with you, I love you and I want you to live again.”

And, as to Lazarus, the Pope said, Jesus repeats to each one of us: "Get up, get back on the path, regain confidence! ... I will take you by the hand, like when you were a child learning to take your first steps."

The Pope asked, "How many times in life have we found ourselves like this, having no strength to get up again." Yet, the Holy Father observed, Jesus says to us, 'Go, go on! I am with you.'"

Don't give into pessimism or fear which paralyses
"Take off the bandages that bind you; please do not give in to the pessimism that depresses, do not give in to the fear that isolates, do not give in to discouragement because of the memory of bad experiences, do not give in to the fear that paralyses," the Pope urged.

“I want you free and alive, I will not abandon you and I am with you! Do not let yourself be imprisoned by pain, do not let hope die: come back to life!”

Especially as we approach Easter, Pope Francis urged the faithful to revisit Chapter 11 of St. John's Gospel, saying it would do us good.

Entrust ourselves to Him
The Pope acknowledged that we likely carry in our hearts some burden or some suffering, "which seems to crush us." For this very reason, he urged us to go out to meet Jesus, who is near.

“Can we open our hearts to Him and entrust our worries to Him? To open the tomb of problems and look over the threshold, towards His light?”

"And in turn, as small mirrors of God's love," he continued to ask, "do we manage to illuminate the environments in which we live with words and gestures of life? Do we bear witness to the hope and joy of Jesus?"

The Pope observed that we are all sinners.

"I would like to say a word to confessors: dear brothers, do not forget that you too are sinners, and you are in the confessional not to torture: to forgive, and to forgive everything, as the Lord forgives everything," he said.

Before reciting the midday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis concluded by praying that "Mary, Mother of Hope, renew in us the joy of not feeling alone and the call to bring light into the darkness that surrounds us."--Vatican News

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