A quote from Pope Francis:
Love breaks chains of slavery to sin, pope says, by Junno Arocho Esteves by Catholic News Service
Vatican City — Only true love for God and neighbor can destroy the chains of greed, lust, anger and envy that enslave humankind, Pope Francis said.
“True love is true freedom: It detaches from possession, rebuilds relationships, it knows how to welcome and value the neighbor, it transforms every struggle into a joyous gift and makes communion possible,” the pope said Sept. 12 during his weekly general audience.
Before addressing thousands of men, women and children, the pope made his way around St. Peter’s Square and greeted excited pilgrims lined up along the popemobile route.
While making his rounds, the pope abruptly ordered his driver to stop. He made his way to two disabled children and blessed them. The mother of one of the children, overcome with emotion, reverently kissed Pope Francis’ hand before he boarded the popemobile.
Continuing his series of talks on the Ten Commandments, the pope reflected on the Third Commandment, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”
The commandment to rest on the Sabbath was linked to the memory of Israel’s freedom from slavery in Egypt, he said, because slaves “by definition cannot rest.”
“There are many types of slavery, both exterior and interior,” the pope said. “There are external constraints such as lives sequestered by violence and other types of injustice. There are also interior prisons that are, for example, psychological blocks, complexes, limitations and more.”
Recalling the lives of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Cardinal Francois Nguyen Van Thuan, both of whom “turned dark oppressions into places of light,” the pope said their example proved that people who are physically or mentally imprisoned “can remain free.”
Nevertheless, he also warned that slavery to one’s ego can tie men and women down “more than a prison, more than a panic attack and more than any sort of imposition.”
The pope explained that the “deadly sins,” such as greed, lust, gluttony and sloth can turn people into slaves of their own passions, while others such as anger ruin relationships and envy can sicken a person like a disease.
“Some writers say that envy turns the body and soul yellow, just like when a person who has hepatitis turns yellow,” he said. “The souls of envious people are yellow because they can never have the freshness of a healthy soul.”
Pope Francis said that through his death and resurrection, Christ overcame “the slavery of our heart with his love and salvation” and guides Christians toward true freedom where every person “can find rest in mercy and freedom in truth.”
“True love frees us even in prison, even if we are weak and limited,” Pope Francis said. “This is the freedom that we receive from our redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Satan is attacking bishops; they must fight with prayer, pope says, by Carol Glatz by Catholic News Service
Vatican City — Bishops must remember, particularly when under attack, that their role is to pray, be humble in knowing God chose them and remain close to the people, Pope Francis said in his morning homily.
In fact, a bishop “does not seek refuge from the powerful, the elite, no. It will be the elite who criticize the bishop,” while the people show love toward their bishop and confirm him in his vocation, the pope said Sept. 11.
In these times, Pope Francis said, it seems like the devil, “the great accuser, has been let loose and he’s got it in for the bishops. True, there are, we are all sinners, we bishops.”
The great accuser “seeks to reveal sins, which people can see, in order to scandalize the people” of God, he said in his homily during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading according to St. Luke (6:12-19), which recounts how Jesus went to the mountain to pray before choosing his 12 apostles — the church’s first bishops. But the homily also recognized that bishops named over the past year were in Rome for a series of courses on their ministry.
It was a good moment, he said, to reflect on what Jesus did in that Gospel account — pray, elect others and minister to the multitude — and what it teaches today’s bishops.
Jesus’ praying for his apostles means Jesus is always praying for his bishops, which is a “great consolation for a bishop during terrible moments,” he said.
Bishops are also to be men of prayer — praying for themselves and the people of God, he added.
Since the apostles were chosen by Jesus — not the disciples themselves — “the faithful bishop knows that he did not choose,” the pope said. “The bishop who loves Jesus is not a climber who moves up with his vocation as if it were a job.”
Instead, a bishop opens a humble dialogue with the Lord saying, “You chose me, and I am not much, I am a sinner.” Knowing that God did the choosing and watches over his elect, gives a person strength, he said.
And finally, he said, the fact that Jesus goes down from the mountain to teach and heal the people shows that a bishop is “a man who is not afraid to come down to level ground and be close to the people.”
The great accuser, the pope said, “roams the world seeking how to blame. The strength of the bishop against the great accuser is prayer — his own and Jesus’, the humility to feel chosen and staying close to the people of God without heading toward an aristocratic life.”
Catholic News Service