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Pope Francis: Temptations faced (cont.)
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Pope Francis: Temptations faced (cont.)


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Day 32: "Pope for the Day" series on "The Joy of the Gospel." Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ (cont.)

Day 32: "Pope for the Day" series on "The Joy of the Gospel." Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ (cont.)

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  • 1. Pope Francis: Temptations (cont.) Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ (cont.) From The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii gaudium) nn. 90-92, by Pope Francis
  • 2. 90. Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate, since they are born of the incarnation of Christian faith in popular culture. St. Katharine Drexel (r) with her sister, Louise Morrell For this reason they entail a personal relationship, not with vague spiritual energies or powers, but with God, with Christ, with Mary, with the saints. These devotions are fleshy, they have a face. They are capable of fostering relationships and not just enabling escapism. Blessed Miguel Pro, just before his martyrdom, 1927
  • 3. In other parts of our society, we see the growing attraction to various forms of a “spirituality of well-being” divorced from any community life, or to a “theology of prosperity” detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters, or to depersonalized experiences which are nothing more than a form of self- centredness. Pastor Joel Osteen, proponent of the “prosperity Gospel”cliff1066/Wikimedia Commons
  • 4. 91. One important challenge is to show that the solution will never be found in fleeing from a personal and committed relationship with God which at the same time commits us to serving others. This happens frequently nowadays, as believers seek to hide or keep apart from others, or quietly flit from one place to another or from one task to another, without creating deep and stable bonds. “Imaginatio locorum et mutatio multos fefellit”.[68] This is a false remedy which cripples the heart and at times the body as well. [68]Thomas À Kempis,  De Imitatione Christi, Lib. I, IX, 5: “Dreaming of different places, and moving from one to another, has misled many”.
  • 5. We need to help others to realize that the only way is to learn how to encounter others with the right attitude, which is to accept and esteem them as companions along the way, without interior resistance. Better yet, it means learning to find Jesus in the faces of others, in their voices, in their pleas. And learning to suffer in the embrace of the crucified Jesus whenever we are unjustly attacked or meet with ingratitude, never tiring of our decision to live in fraternity.[69] [69] We can benefit from the testimony of Saint Thérèse of  Lisieux, who speaks of one particular Sister whom she found especially disagreeable, where an interior experience had a decisive impact: “One winter afternoon I was engaged as usual in my little task. It was cold and growing dark… Suddenly I heard in the distance the harmonious sounds of a musical instrument. I began to imagine a well-lit room, draped in gold, and in it, elegantly dressed young ladies exchanging worldly compliments and courtesies. Then I looked at the poor sick woman whom I was attending. In place of a melody, I heard her occasional groans and sighs… I cannot express what took place in my soul. All that I do know is that the Lord illumined it with the rays of truth which so surpassed the flickering glow of earthly revels, that I could scarcely believe my happiness” (Ms. C, 29v-30r, in Oeuvres Complètes, Paris, 1992, 274-275).
  • 6. 92. There indeed we find true healing, since the way to relate to others which truly heals instead of debilitating us, is a mystical fraternity, a contemplative fraternity. It is a fraternal love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does.
  • 7. Here and now, especially where we are a “little flock” (Lk 12:32), the Lord’s disciples are called to live as a community which is the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-16). We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community!
  • 8. For reflection & prayer Where do I see or hear God in my world—in the news, in “the cry of the poor,” in the affection of family or friends? Where do I sense “the embrace of the crucified Jesus” (n. 91)—in my sufferings and those of others? Lord, open my eyes, ears, and heart to notice you and love you everywhere. Heal me as you heal the sick, the penitent, the conflicted, and the faith-filled of all time.