During Mass on Friday, Pope Francis urged Christians to more prayer and hope, especially during the difficult times, instead of finding pleasures in vanity.
He reflected on the suffering endured in the Book of Tobit – blindness, exile, strained marriages – which tempted Tobit and Sarah to desire death; but rather than giving into despair they committed themselves to prayer and hope.
“This is the attitude that saves us in bad times – prayer. Patience – because both of them are patient with their pains. And hope – that God will listen to us and help us tide over these bad moments,” said the Holy Father at the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta June 9.
“In moments of sadness, little or much, in moments of darkness, prayer, patience and hope. Do not forget this.”
Pope Francis recognized that everyone will suffer, and “know how it feels in times of darkness, in moments of pain, in times of difficulty,” and that “after the test” God reveals “beautiful and authentic moments.”
But he warned against an artificial beauty – something he calls “beautiful makeup” or “fireworks.”
Asking what Tobit, Sarah, and Tobiah do with authentic moments of beauty, he said, “They thank God, broadening their hearts with prayers of thanksgiving.”
He challenged his audience to discern what is happening in their souls, especially during times of suffering. To encounter these moments without vanity, he said we must commit “to pray, to have patience and have at least a bit of hope.”
Like Tobit and Sarah, he said we must “wait, in prayer and in hope for the Lord’s salvation.”
The Pope encouraged his audience to read the short book of Tobit over the weekend and to “ask for [the] grace of discerning what happens in the bad times of our lives and how to go on and what happens in the beautiful moments and not be misled by vanity.”