11/21/2018, 18.18
VATICAN
Send to a friend

Pope: to be saved, man must recognise himself as a ‘mendicant’ of truth

The last part of the Ten Commandments is aimed at bringing “man to his truth, that is, to his poverty, which becomes authentic openness, personal openness to the mercy of God, Who transforms and renews us.” Likewise, “Let us keep in mind that all the commandments have the task of indicating the boundary of life, the limit beyond which man destroys himself and his neighbour, breaking down his relationship with God.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis dedicated today’s general audience to the Ten Commandments, focusing on “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife… You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods”.

In his address, the pontiff said that man must acknowledge that he cannot save himself on his own, that he needs God’s intervention, that he must see himself as a “mendicant”. The end of the Ten Commandments is centred on man’s heart, tasked with bringing him “to his truth, that is, to his poverty, which becomes authentic openness, personal openness to the mercy of God, Who transforms and renews us.”

Speaking to some 20,000 people in St Peter’s Square, Francis said that “today, the liturgical feast of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy in the Temple, we celebrate Pro Orantibus Day, dedicated to the memory of cloistered religious communities. It is an appropriate occasion to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves totally to God in prayer, silence and concealment. May these communities never lack the affection, closeness, and material support of the whole Church!"

“Our encounters on the Decalogue lead us today to the final commandment. We heard it at the beginning. These are not only the last words in the text, but much more: they are the fulfilment of the journey through the Decalogue, touching the heart of all that is consigned to us in it. Indeed, looking closely, they do not add new content: the indications “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife … or anything that belongs to your neighbour” are implicit in the commandments on adultery and theft; so what is the function of these words? Are they the summary? Or are they something more?

“Let us keep in mind that all the commandments have the task of indicating the boundary of life, the limit beyond which man destroys himself and his neighbour, breaking down his relationship with God. If you go beyond, you destroy yourself, you also destroy your relationship with God and your relationship with others. The commandments show this. This last word highlights the fact that all transgressions arise from a common root: evil desires. All sins are born of an evil desire.”

“In the Gospel the Lord Jesus tells us explicitly: In the Gospel the Lord Jesus tells us explicitly: ‘For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person’ (Mk 7: 21-23).

“For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mk 7: 21-23).

“We therefore understand that the entire path taken by the Decalogue would have no use if it did not reach this level, the heart of man. From where are all these ugly things born? The Decalogue shows itself to be lucid and profound in this aspect: the point of arrival – the final commandment – of this journey is the heart, and if the heart is not freed, the rest serves little. This is the challenge: to free the heart from all these evil and ugly things. God’s precepts can be reduced merely to the beautiful façade of a life that remains nevertheless an existence of slaves and not of sons. Often, behind the Pharisaic mask of asphyxiating correctness, something ugly and unresolved is hidden.

“We must instead allow ourselves to be unmasked by these commandments on desire, because they show us our poverty, to lead us to a holy humiliation. Each one of us can ask himself: but which ugly desires come to me often? Envy, greed, gossip? All these things that come from inside me. Each one of us can ask himself this, and it will do him good. Man needs this blessed humiliation, that which enables him to discover that he cannot free himself alone, that for which he cries out to God to be saved. Saint Paul explains this in an insuperable way, referring precisely to the commandment do not covet (cf. Rm 7: 7-24).

“It is vain to think of being able to correct oneself without the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is futile to think of purifying our heart in a titanic effort of will alone: this is not possible. We must open ourselves to the relationship with God, in truth and in freedom: only in this way can our efforts be fruitful, because there is the Holy Spirit Who carries us forward.

“The task of the Biblical Law is not that of deluding man that a literal obedience leads him to an artificial and, moreover, unattainable salvation. The task of the Law is to bring man to his truth, that is, to his poverty, which becomes authentic openness, personal openness to the mercy of God, Who transforms and renews us. God is the only one capable of renewing our heart, as long as we open our hearts to Him: it is the only condition; He does everything, but we have to open His heart.

“The last words of the Decalogue educate us all to acknowledge that we are mendicants; they help to place us before the disorder of our heart, to stop living selfishly and to become poor in spirit, genuine in the presence of the Father, letting ourselves be redeemed by the Son and instructed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the teacher Who guides us: let us allow ourselves to be helped. We are mendicants, let us ask for this grace.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5: 3). Yes, blessed are those who cease to delude themselves, believing they can save themselves from their own weakness without the mercy of God, which alone can heal. Only God’s mercy can heal the heart. Blessed are those who recognize their own evil desires and, with a repentant and humiliated heart do not stand before God and other men as though they were righteous, but rather as sinners. It is beautiful, what Peter says to the Lord: ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man’. This is a beautiful prayer: ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man’. It is beautiful, what Peter says to the Lord: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”. This is a beautiful prayer: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”.

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Pope entrusts to St Joseph young job seekers and unemployed
19/03/2006
Pope: At the Holy Door, Jesus says "Arise!". "With my heart healed I do works of mercy"
10/08/2016 11:50
Fr. Gheddo: Ten years of AsiaNews
24/01/2014
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
13/06/2008
Pope: God's salvation enters through the door of weakness
08/08/2018 15:01