ROME — Pope Francis said Wednesday that weeping for one’s sins is a grace that Christians should aspire to.
Reflecting on the second Beatitude — “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” — the pope said in his General Audience in the Vatican that a key dimension of this blessing is “tears for sin — for one’s own sin — when the heart bleeds from the pain of having offended God and neighbor.”
We must distinguish this blessed sadness from “those who get angry because they made a mistake,” since “this is pride,” Francis said. “Instead there are those who weep for the evil done, for the good omitted, for betrayal their relationship with God. This is weeping for not having loved, which springs from having the life of others at heart.”
“Here we cry because we have not corresponded to the Lord who loves us so much, and we are saddened by the thought of the good not done; this is the sense of sin,” he said. “They say: ‘I have hurt the one I love,’ and it pains them to tears.”
“Blessed be God if these tears come!” he added.
“I have often talked about the gift of tears, and how precious it is,” the pontiff noted. “Can one love in a cold way? Can we love by function, by duty? Certainly not.”
The pope went on to contrast the very different reactions of two biblical figures — Judas and Peter — when each betrayed Jesus.
“This is the theme of facing one’s mistakes to face, which is difficult but vital,” he said. “Let us think of St. Peter’s weeping, which will lead him to a new and much truer love: it is a weeping that purifies, that renews.”
Unlike Judas, who could not accept that he had made a mistake and committed suicide, “Peter looked at Jesus and wept; his heart was renewed,” he said.
“Understanding sin is a gift from God, it is a work of the Holy Spirit,” Francis continued. “We alone cannot understand sin. It is a grace that we must ask for.”
“Lord, let me understand the evil I have done or can do,” he said. “This is a very great gift and after understanding this, the tears of repentance come.”
“God always forgives: let’s not forget this,” Francis concluded. “God always forgives, even the ugliest sins, always. The problem is with us: that we get tired of asking for forgiveness, we close in on ourselves and we don’t ask for forgiveness.”