Religious and consecrated are not God’s employees, nor are administrators of the divine. However, they are to always turn to Our Father in prayer and not fall victim to temptation.
The Pope stressed this during his homily at the Mass he celebrated this morning for priests, religious, consecrated men and women, and seminarians in Morelia, Mexico.
Prayer as Identity
The Holy Father reminded them how the life of any religious or consecrated “speaks of prayer” and how “prayer speaks of their life.”
The Pope pointed out how praying is something learned, just as we learn to walk, to speak, to listen. He added that “the school of prayer is the school of life, and, in the school of life, we progress in the school of prayer.”
With the two words, “Our Father,” Francis explained, Jesus knew “how to live praying and to pray living.”
Jesus, Francis said, invites us to do the same, noting our first call is to experience this merciful love of the Father in our lives, in our experiences.
Jesus’ first call, he added, “is to introduce us into the new dynamic of love, of sonship. Our first calling is to learn to say, “Our Father”, that is, Abba.”
Francis stressed that He has invited us to share in his life, his divine life, and “woe to us” if we do not share it and choose not to be witnesses to what we have seen and heard.
Not God’s Employees
“We are not and do not want to be “administrators of the divine”, we are not and do not want to be God’s employees, for we are invited to share in his life, we are invited to enter into his heart, a heart that prays and lives, saying, “Our Father”.
“What is our purpose if not to say with our lives, “Our Father”?” he asked.
He reminded them that ‘with insistence,’ they are to pray to He ‘who is Our Father,’ and pray: ‘Lead us not into temptation.’
He noted how Jesus did the same thing and prayed this for his disciples. The Holy Father then called on those present to examine when they are vulnerable to temptation.
“What could be one of the sins which besets us? What could be one of the temptations which springs up not only in contemplating reality but also in living it? What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability?
“What temptation might we suffer over and over again when faced with this reality which seems to have become a permanent system?””
One of Devil’s Favorite Weapons of Temptation: Resignation
The Pontiff said he thinks this can be summed up in one word: resignation.
Noting that this is one of the favorite weapons the devil uses to overcome us, Francis explained that this resignation “paralyzes us and prevents us not only from walking, but also from making the journey.”
This resignation is one which “not only terrifies us, but which also entrenches us in our ‘sacristies’ and false securities; a resignation which not only prevents us from proclaiming, but also inhibits our giving praise. A resignation which not only hinders our looking to the future, but also thwarts our desire to take risks and to change.”
Advice to Counter Temptation
When we feel tempted, the Pontiff advised those gathered, to tap into their memories, noting it helps to look back on that from which we are made.
“It did not all begin with us, nor will it all end with us, and so it does us good to look back at our past experiences which have brought us to where we are today.”
Recalling that we are to remember we have God as our ‘Father,’ and even ‘daddy,’ he stressed they should pray to be led away from the temptations of resignation, of losing their memory, and forgetting our elders who taught us by their lives to say, “Our Father.”