In his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the pope spoke about the doubts that may arise even despite a very strong vocation. He used the example of John the Baptist, who went through "dark times,” meaning his doubts about the faith.
"This is the greatness of John, a great one, the last of that group of believers that began with Abraham, one who preaches conversion, one who does not beat around the bush to condemn the proud, one who at the end of his life allows himself to doubt”.
The pope said that doubts are not a sign of weakness, but rather something "beautiful,” that can happen to "those who are certain of their vocation.”
EXCERPTS FROM THE PAPAL HOMILY
"He preached forcefully, he said some ugly things to the Pharisees, to the doctors of the law, to the priests, he didn’t say to them: "But dear friends, behave yourselves!” No. He said to them simply: "You race of vipers!” He didn’t use nuance. Because they approached in order to inspect him and to see him, but never with open hearts: "Race of vipers!” He risked his live, yes, but he was faithful. Then to Herod, to his face, he said, "Adulterer! It is not licit for you to live this way, adulterer!” To his face! But it is certain that if a pastor today said in the Sunday homily, "Among you there are some who are a race of vipers, and there are many adulterers,” certainly the Bishop would receive disconcerting letters: "But send away this pastor who insults us.” And he insulted them. Why? Because he was faithful to his vocation and to the truth."
"The great can afford to doubt, and this is beautiful. They are certain of their vocation but each time the Lord makes them see a new street of the journey, they enter into doubt. ‘But this is not orthodox, this is heretical, this is not the Messiah I expected.’ The devil does this work, and some friend also helps, no? This is the greatness of John, a great one, the last of that band of believers that began with Abraham, that one that preaches conversion, that one that does not use half-words to condemn the proud, that one that at the end of his life is allowed to doubt. And this is a good program of Christian life.”
Let us ask from John the grace of apostolic courage to always say things with truth, from pastoral love, to receive the people with the little that they can give, the first step. God will do the rest. And also the grace of doubting. Often times, maybe at the end of life, one can ask, "But is all that I believed true or are they fantasies?” the temptation against the faith, against the Lord. May the great John, who is the least in the kingdom of Heaven, and for this reason is great, help us along this path in the footsteps of the Lord."