Pope Francis: Never forget that Jesus is beside you in your worst moments

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Pope Francis delivers a message on the topic of “vices and virtuesc” at his Wednesday general audience on Jan. 3, 2024. | Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City: (CNA) In life’s worst moments, never forget that Jesus is beside you, Pope Francis said Wednesday. In his first general audience of the new year, the pope set aside his prepared remarks to share a message from his heart: “Jesus never leaves us alone, never!” “In our worst moments, in the moments when we slip into sins, Jesus is beside us to help us lift ourselves up,” Pope Francis said in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Jan. 3. “We must not lose this certainty: Jesus is beside us to help us, to protect us, and also to lift us up after we sin.”

The pope underlined that Jesus came “to forgive and to save” and that the Lord can “forgive everything” when one comes to him seeking mercy.

Pope Francis commented that there are many people in today’s society “who absolve themselves” and “who think that they are ‘fine’” without the Lord’s forgiveness. 

“But we are all sinners, all of us. And a little self-examination, a little interior look will do us good,” he said.

The pope said that the act of self-examination prevents us from becoming “accustomed to the darkness and no longer knowing how to distinguish between good and evil.”

“Let us regain this ability to ask for forgiveness. Each of us has so many things to ask forgiveness for: Each of us should reflect on this within ourselves and talk to Jesus about it today,” Pope Francis said.

“We must all ask God for the grace to recognize ourselves as poor sinners, in need of conversion, keeping in our hearts the trust that no sin is too great for the infinite mercy of God the Father,” he said.

Pope Francis’ reflection on forgiveness and the spiritual struggle against temptations was part of his new weekly catechesis series on the topic of “vices and virtues.”

“The spiritual life of the Christian is not peaceful, linear, and without challenges, but, on the contrary, Christian life demands a constant battle,” the pope said.

“The saints are not men who have been spared temptation but rather people well aware of the fact that in life the seductions of evil appear repeatedly, to be unmasked and rejected,” he added.

At the end of his audience, Pope Francis asked people not to forget to pray for all people affected by war.

“War is madness. War is always a defeat. Let us pray. Let us pray for the people in Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, and so many other places where there is war. And let us not forget our Rohingya brothers and sisters who are being persecuted,” he said.

“Lastly … I urge all of you to continue in faithful adherence to Christ Jesus and generous support for the spread of his Gospel,” Pope Francis said.

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