Let Yourself Be Consoled

by Pope Francis

The Lord always consoles us as long as we allow ourselves to be consoled.

And God corrects with consolation, but how? Like a shepherd He feeds his flock. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in his bosom (Is 40:11). “In his bosom!”. But this is an expression of tenderness.

How does the Lord console? With tenderness. How does the Lord correct? With tenderness. Can you imagine, being in the bosom of the Lord after having sinned? …

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the father sees his son from afar: because he was waiting for him, he goes up on the terrace to see if his son is returning. The heart of the father.

And when he arrives and begins that speech of repentance, the father cuts his son’s speech off short and starts celebrating. The Lord’s tenderness.

In the Gospel, the shepherd returns, the one who has a hundred sheep and one that is lost. Will he not leave the 99 in the hills and go in search for the one that’s lost? (Lk 15:4) And if he can find her, he will rejoice over her more than over the 99 that were not lost.

This is the joy of the Lord before the sinner, before us when we allow ourselves to be forgiven, when we approach him to forgive us. It is a joy that makes tenderness, and that tenderness comforts us.

Many times, we complain about the difficulties we have: the devil wants us to fall into the spirit of sadness, embittered by life or our sins. …

How often do we complain! We complain, and we often think that our sins, our limitations, cannot be forgiven.

It is then that the voice of the Lord comes and says, “I comfort you; I am near you,” and he holds us tenderly.

The powerful God who created the heavens and earth, the God-hero to put it this way, our brother, who allowed himself to be brought to the cross to die for us, is able to caress us and say, “Do not cry.” …

“Father, I have so many sins, I have made so many mistakes in my life.”

But let yourself be consoled – by the Lord. Ask for forgiveness: go, go! Be brave. Open the door. And He will caress you. He will approach with the tenderness of a father, a brother.

Excerpted from the homily at Mass at Santa Marta, December 10, 2019