Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pope Francis Preaches on St. Thérèse: Charity Without Humility Is Sterile

The following comes from the NCR:

On the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Pope Francis praised the saint for her exemplary humility and meekness, praying that the newly formed council of cardinals would emulate her virtues in their upcoming meetings.

The Pope concelebrated his Oct. 1 daily Mass with the group of eight cardinals who are meeting through Thursday to discuss reforming the Curia.

In his homily, Pope Francis voiced hope that the cardinals’' meetings will help them all to become more humble and to trust in God, so that the Church is able to give a beautiful witness to the world.

Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, in which the apostles sought to call down fire upon those who did not accept them, the Holy Father said that the path of Christians is not a “path of vengeance.” He said, instead, that it is the way of humility and meekness.

In light of the feast of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a French Carmelite nun who lived in the late 1800s, the Pope encouraged those present to meditate on “this spirit of humility, of tenderness,” which, he said, is a spirit that God “wants from all of us.”

This spirit, he said, can only be found “in love, in charity, in the awareness that we are in the hands of the Father.”

Once Christians understand this, said the Pope, they will no longer desire to “call down fire from heaven.”

“Another spirit comes, that of that charity that suffers all, pardons all; that does not boast, that is humble, that doesn’t seek itself,” he said. Noting that some might say this understanding of charity lowers the “majesty” and “greatness” of man, Pope Francis said that thiseir approach “is sterile.”

“The Gospel reaches its highest point in the humiliation of Jesus: humility that becomes humiliation,” he said, adding that the force of the Gospel “is properly in humility, in the humility of the child that is guided by the love and the tenderness of the Father.”

The Holy Father praised the Church for naming St. Thérèse (also known as the “Little Flower”) a doctor of the Church and patron of missions. He added the words of Benedict XVI, that the “Church does not grow through proselytism,” but, rather, “through attraction, through witness.”

“When the people see this witness of humility, of meekness, of mildness, they feel the need that the prophet Zachariah spoke of: ‘We want to come with you,’” he said.

“Charity is simple,” said the Pope. “Worship God, and serve others.”
Concluding his homily with a special mention of the meetings being held with the council of cardinals, Pope Francis asked the Lord that, through their work, they will become more humble, meek, patient, and trusting in God.

The Holy Father asked that this occur, “so that the Church can give a beautiful witness to the people; and seeing the people of God, seeing the Church, they might feel the desire to come with us.” 

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