Pope Francis: Faith is like fire, not a lullaby

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA


Pope Francis waves to pilgrims during the Angelus Aug. 14, 2022. / Vatican Media. See CNA article for full slideshow. 

Vatican City, Aug 14, 2022 / 05:23 am (CNA).

The fire of faith should spur us to conversion, not lull us into complacency, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Sunday.

In his weekly message on the Gospel, the pope reflected on a passage from St. Luke, who wrote: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!’”

“Faith is not a ‘lullaby’ that lulls us to sleep, but rather a living flame to keep us wakeful and active even at night,” Francis said Aug. 14.

The pope delivered his reflection on the flame of faith from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Afterwards, he prayed the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, in Latin, before sharing some concluding remarks.

“The Gospel,” he said, “does not leave things as they are; when the Gospel passes, and is heard and received, things do not remain as they are. The Gospel provokes change and invites conversion.”

According to Francis, the fire of the Gospel does not give a false sense of peace, but spurs people into action.

“It is just like fire: while it warms us with God’s love, it wants to burn our selfishness, to enlighten the dark sides of life — we all have them — to consume the false idols that enslave us,” he said.

The pope said Jesus is inviting each person to be rekindled by the flame of the Gospel. To illustrate this point, he quoted from the book “The Discovery of God,” by Henri de Lubac, a 20th century theologian and Jesuit priest.

“As Father de Lubac said — faith in God ‘reassures us — but not on our level, or so to produce a paralyzing illusion, or a complacent satisfaction, but so as to enable us to act,” he emphasized.

He also suggested everyone ask themselves if they are passionate about the Gospel, if they read it often, and if they carry it with them.

“Does the faith I profess and celebrate lead me to complacent tranquility or does it ignite the flame of witness in me?” he said, proposing the question for reflection. “We can also ask ourselves this question as Church: in our communities, does the fire of the Spirit burn, with the passion for prayer and charity, and the joy of faith? Or do we drag ourselves along in weariness and habit, with a downcast face and a lament on our lips? And gossip every day?”

Do an interior examination on these questions, Francis said, so that like Jesus, we can say “we are inflamed with the fire of God’s love, and we want to spread it around the world, to take it to everyone, so that each person may discover the tenderness of the Father and experience the joy of Jesus, which enlarges the heart — and Jesus enlarges the heart — and makes life beautiful.”

Pope Francis closed his message by asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

After the Angelus, he drew attention to a humanitarian crisis in Somalia and some parts of the neighboring countries.

“The people of this region, already living in very precarious conditions, are now in mortal danger due to drought,” he explained.

Lamenting that war diverts attention and resources away from other places, he expressed hope that the international community will respond to the emergency.

The fight against hunger and the promotion of health and education, he said, “are the goals that demand the greatest commitment.”

Pope Francis also recalled the Aug. 17th anniversary of Saint Pope John Paul II’s entrustment of the world to Divine Mercy, which was carried out at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland, 20 years ago in 2002.

“And we ask the Lord [for a] special mercy, mercy and compassion, for the tormented Ukrainian people,” he added.

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  1. Without prejudice, a favorable impression of Francis’, “Faith is not a lullaby, rather a living flame to keep us wakeful and active even at night”. He may have read John of the Cross’ Living Flame of Love. Faith is a flame that spurs us to action.
    Although [there always the condition] faith isn’t entirely “discovery [of] the tenderness of the Father and the joy of Jesus”. There’s the ruggedness of the narrow path, the willingness to offer ourselves for the salvation of the other. Faith the Fathers taught inflames us with love of God that translates, the Apostle’s many sleepless nights, adversity, marked expression of tender love in appeal to the sinner to return to the commandments of Christ as the Apostle does so well in his exhortations to the Corinthians.

    • Yes the casting of fire on the earth too!

      “Deliver us Lord from every evil and grant us peace in our day, that by the help of Your mercy we may be free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we wait in joyful hope the coming of our Saviour ….”

  2. Through faith we sing lullaby’s to our children, we want them at peace and to feel God’s love. Our faith is a gift from God and we want to share it.

    Might it be fair to speculate that Papa’s dreams are more of flames than sweet? Yes we have tribulation and upset and, yet:

    Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

    Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

    1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

    Prayers for Papa, may the Holy Spirit be the source of all encouragement and discernment.

  3. For lovers of lullabies, and in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day
    Toora loora looral
    Toora loora li
    Toora loora looral
    Hush now, don’t you cry
    Toora loora looral
    Toora loora li
    Toora loora looral
    That’s an Irish lullaby

    • Christian action and witness obviously requires both passion or gentleness in different circumstances. The weak mind of Francis, a neophiliac in continuous need to try to prove to himself that he can be an original, deep thinker, creates nonsensical fantasy targets of thought that never considers countering implications to his thesis. He can’t seem to figure out such things like the connection between being soft on the sex revolution and the effects on abortion. Nor can he seem to figure out that avoiding God’s gift of guilt through the pursuit of serial families has bad effects on abandoned families. He does seem, however, to figure out what garners accolades from everyone else who fails to think matters through.

  4. This attitude, a typically simplistic nostrum by Francis, who often seems to TRY to be a clone of the late Cdl. Martini, is observed in this comment below from an article on Martini’s last interview:

    “The Church was “tired,” its rites were “pompous,” and he who had dreamed of a “young church” now stared at countless ashes. How he wanted the embers beneath the ashes to burn! Where were the men who burned for the spreading of the “spirit”? Where were the men who would preach “discernment” and carry the Eucharist to those in “complex family situations?”

    After Martini, the Fight Over His Spiritual Testament (repubblica.it)

  5. Faith is a gift. Conversion is an ongoing process. Saint Ignatius of Antioch has left some inspiring thoughts for consideration: “If we be ground in the mill of Life, may we be found pure Bread. If we be crushed in the wine press of suffering, may we be found pure wine”.

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