Vatican City, Sep 17, 2020 / 07:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis thanked sick and elderly priests for their quiet witness to the Gospel Thursday in a message that conveyed the sanctifying value of frailty and suffering.
“It is especially to you, dear confreres, who experience old age or the bitter hour of illness, that I feel the need to say thank you. Thank you for the testimony of faithful love of God and the Church. Thank you for the silent proclamation of the Gospel of life,” Pope Francis wrote in a message published Sept. 17.
“For our priestly life, frailty can be ‘like a refiner’s fire or a fuller’s lye’ (Malachi 3:2) which, raising us towards God, refines and sanctifies us. We are not afraid of suffering: the Lord carries the cross with us!” the pope said.
His words were addressed to a gathering of elderly and sick clergy Sept. 17 at a Marian shrine in Lombardy, the Italian region hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
In his message, Pope Francis recalled that during the most difficult period of the pandemic -- “full of a deafening silence and a desolate emptiness” -- many people raised their gaze to heaven.