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During Mass today at the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel, Pope Francis elaborated upon the theme of Christians and worldliness, something he also preached about yesterday. “When a Christian has no difficulties in life—when everything is fine, everything is beautiful—something is wrong,” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio’s summary of his homily. This situation indicates that the Christian has become “a great friend of the spirit of the world, of worldliness.” This “is a temptation particular to Christians,” Francis continued:

Following Jesus, yes, but up to a certain point: following Jesus because of culture: I am a Christian, I have this culture … But without the necessity of true discipleship of Jesus, the necessity to travel this His road. If you follow Jesus as a cultural proposal, then you are using this road to get higher up, to have more power. And the history of the Church is full of this, starting with some emperors and then many rulers and many people, no? And even some—I will not say a lot, but some—priests, bishops, no? … they are those who think that following Jesus is a career. …

Think of Mother Teresa: what does the spirit of the world say of Mother Teresa? “Ah, Blessed Teresa is a beautiful woman, she did a lot of good things for others….” The spirit of the world never says that the Blessed Teresa spent, every day, many hours, in adoration…Never! It reduces Christian activity to doing social good. As if Christian life was a gloss, a veneer of Christianity. The proclamation of Jesus is not a veneer: the proclamation of Jesus goes straight to the bones, heart, goes deep within and changes us. And the spirit of the world does not tolerate it, will not tolerate it, and therefore, there is persecution. …

Following Jesus is just that: going with Him out of love, behind Him: on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did. Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus in the way that He has revealed to us and that He has taught us. This is beautiful, because he never leaves us alone. Never! He is always with us. So be it.

 

 
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Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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