We are called to be saints, just like the multitude of witnesses before us, so as to be heralds of hope for the world. That was Pope Francis’ message during the catechesis portion of his Wednesday General Audience, in which he reflected on the saints as witnesses and companions of hope.
Pope Francis at his General Audience in a sunny Saint Peter’s Square said the saints who have gone before us show us the path of Christian hope and teach us to follow in their footsteps.
Taking the Letter to the Hebrews (11:40-12:12a) as his guide, the Pope said the saints are “those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith”.
He spoke about three important moments in the life of the Church in which the “great cloud of witnesses” is evoked: in the liturgies of Baptism, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.
He said the saints are called upon in these moments because “they have passed along our same path, have known the same toil, and live forever in the embrace of God.”
“God never abandons us,” he said. “Whenever we are in need, one of His angels will come to pick us up and console us. ‘Angels’ sometimes have a human face and heart, because the saints of God are always here, hidden in our midst.”
Pope Francis went on to assure his audience that the Christian ideal is attainable, as the lives of the saints have shown.
He said, “It is possible to be saints because the Lord helps us.” Being a saint, he said, means doing your daily duties, like “praying, working, taking care of the kids”, but “doing all with a heart open to God”.
In conclusion, the Holy Father said living a saintly life is “the great gift that each of us can offer to the world.”
“Our history needs ‘mystics’, that is, people who reject every dominion and aspire to charity and solidarity: Men and women who live by accepting even a portion of suffering, because they take upon themselves the difficulties of their neighbor. Without these men and women, the world would be without hope.”