(Vatican Radio) The Christian knows to guard his heart in order to distinguish what comes from God and what comes from the false prophets. That was the message of Pope Francis in the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the first after the holiday season. The Pope said the way of Jesus is that of service and humility, a path that all Christians are called to follow.
Pope Francis took the words “Remain in the Lord,” from the first Reading from the Apostle John, as the starting point for his homily. It is a “counsel for life,” the Pope said, that John repeats “almost obsessively.” The Apostle shows “one of the attitudes of the Christian who wants to remain in the Lord: to understand what’s happening in one’s own heart.” For this reason he warns us, “Do not to trust every spirit, but test the spirits.” It is necessary, the Pope said, to know “the discernment of spirits,” to discern whether something helps us “remain in the Lord or takes us away from Him.” “Our heart,” he added, “always has desires, has cravings, has thoughts.” But “are these from the Lord or do some of these things take us away from the Lord?” That’s why the Apostle John exhorts us to “test” what we think and desire:
What, then, is the criterion to determine if something comes from Christ or from the antichrist? St. John, the Pope said, has a clear “simple” idea: “Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist.” But what does it mean, “to recognize that the Word is come in the flesh?” It means “recognizing the path of Jesus Christ,” recognising the He, “being God, He emptied Himself, He humbled Himself” even to “death on the Cross”:
The Pope then invited everyone to think about what happens in their own hearts. What do we think and feel, what do we desire, do I examine the spirits? “Do I test what I think, what I want, what I desire - he asked - or do I accept it all” without discernment?