Pope Francis during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square

ANSA - MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

Pope's Morning Homily: Ask What You Feel in Your Heart

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Says If You Close in on Yourself, Create Distance From Others’ Needs, You Are Not the Spiritual Person You Think You Are

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If you seem spiritual, but then live in a way detached from the presence or needs of others, you are not really….
Pope Francis warned against this false spirituality and worldliness during his first Mass at Casa Santa Marta since the Christmas break, reported Vatican Radio.
In his homily, the Holy Father stressed being merciful toward others is at the heart of our faith and how we are to visibly show it.
Drawing inspiration from the first letter of John where he speaks about remaining in the Lord, the Pope explained that a Christian is he who remains in God, has the Holy Spirit and is guided by Him. Francis also recalled John’s speaking about antichrists, which, the Pontiff reminded those gathered, exist, and which are not to be trusted.
The required response, the Holy Father explained, is looking into one’s own heart to see what is the root of what is happening in it, and what we feel and where it comes from. He explained that this is to test if “what I’m hearing comes from God” or comes from the other,” i.e. from the Antichrist.
The Jesuit Pontiff then warned against worldliness, saying this is the spirit that distances us from the Spirit of God. He said we need to have a good discernment of what is happing in our soul and the Apostle John gives us that guideline.
“The criterion is the Incarnation. I can feel so many things inside, even good things, good ideas. But if these good ideas, these feelings, do not lead to God who became flesh, do not lead me to my neighbour, my brother, then they are not from God. For this reason, John begins this passage of his letter by saying: ‘This is God’s commandment that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another.'”
Even if we have “many pastoral plans” and are envisioning new ways to get close to the people, if we do not follow the path of God who became flesh, we are not on the path of the ‘good spirit,’ Francis said, but that of the Antichrist and worldliness.
“How many people seem spiritual: ‘How spiritual that person is!’ but they do not talk about doing works of mercy. Why? Because the works of mercy are the visible sign of our confession that the Son of God became flesh: visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, taking care of those who are abandoned… works of mercy.
“Why?” he asked, “Because each of our brothers, whom we must love, is the flesh of Christ,” he responded. “God became flesh to identify with us. And those who suffer are one and the same as the suffering Christ.”
The Pontiff warned against believing all spirits, noting, “you have to test to test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Signs that we are following the good spirit, the path of the Word of God made flesh, he observed, include not only serving those in need, but also even those who need a little advice or a listening ear.
The Holy Father concluded, praying for the Lord to grant us “the grace to know exactly what happens in our hearts, our desires, if we are more open to the spirit of God, that brings me to the service of others, or to the spirit of the world that revolves around myself, my closed views, my selfishness, so many other things.”
“Let us ask for the grace to discern what happens in our hearts,” he said.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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