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Pope: How to Defend Yourself From Illusions of World? Hope in God

At General Audience, Francis Recalls How Being Worldly and Having False Idols Leads to Empty Lives

A recipe for an empty life: keep being worldly.

Pope Francis expressed this advice during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, as he continued his series of catecheses on the theme of Christian hope. 

The Holy Father drew inspiration from the Scriptures teaching that along with authentic hope, born of trust in God’s word, we can be tempted by false hopes and worldly idols, like money, power or physical beauty.

During his remarks, Francis departed from his text to lament how a women he knew in Argentina, who was very beautiful, said that she had an abortion because she would not risk that having the baby, would make her body less attractive.

“Hope in God demands strength and perseverance, whereas these false gods promise an easy security, a future we can control.”

Recalling the Psalm’s message from this morning’s reading, Francis stressed: “If one places one’s hope in idols, one becomes like them: empty images with hands that do not touch, feet that do not walk, mouths that cannot speak.”

When this happens, he lamented, people lose their ability to speak, help, change things, smile, give of themselves, and love.

“And we also, men of the Church, run this risk when we become ‘worldly.’ It is necessary to remain in the world, but to defend oneself from the illusions of the world,” he warned.

As the Psalm continues, the Jesuit Pope highlighted, “it is necessary to trust and hope in God, and God will give a blessing.”

By trusting in God’s word and hoping in His promises, he encouraged, we become more and more like Him, sharing in His life and rejoicing in His provident care. Stressing that the Lord is always mindful of us, Francis noted that this is the case even in awful moments.

“While hope “never” disappoints, he warned that idols “always” disappoint,” he stressed. “They are fantasies, not reality. Behold the stupendous reality of hope: trusting in the Lord one becomes like Him, His blessing transforms us into His children, who share His life.”

Pope Francis concluded, saying that hope in God “makes us enter, so to speak, into being always actively remembered by Him, which blesses us and saves us.”


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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a 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 four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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