Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful however, this does not mean we must follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us . . .," Pope Francis told the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus.
The pontiff was inspired by today's Gospel (Luke, 9:51-62), which shows Jesus taking the "steadfast decision to journey to Jerusalem" in order "to complete his mission of salvation."
"From that moment," the pontiff added, "after the steadfast decision, Jesus goes straight to the finish. Even to the people he meets who ask him if they can follow him, he clearly says what the conditions are: not having a permanent abode; detaching themselves from human affections, [and] not giving in to nostalgia for the past."
"But Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding him in his journey to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything. If they do not find people willing to host him, they should proceed further, move on."
Speaking ad-lib, the pontiff added, "Jesus is humble; he never imposes. If you want, follow him; He never imposes. "
"All this makes us think. It tells us, for example, the importance that, even for Jesus, conscience had: listening in one's heart to the Father's voice and follow it. Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, "remote-controlled". He was the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point took a steadfast decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time; a decision taken in good conscience, not on His own but together with the Father, in full union with Him! He decided in obedience to the Father, deeply attuned and intimately listening to his will. For this reason, the decision was steadfast for it was taken together with the Father. And in the Father, Jesus found the strength and the light for his journey."
"And Jesus," the pope said again ad-lib, "was free. In his dialogue with the Father, he was free. Jesus does not want Christians who are not free, who do not speak with God or are 'remote controlled'. If a Christian does not know how to speak with God, he is not free".
"So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful however, this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the inner space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, God's voice. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us discern, understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, move forward, and remain faithful."
As an example of obedience to God and conscience, Francis Pope cited a special witness, "a wonderful example," Pope Benedict XVI, whose name, when the pontiff mentioned it, elicited a long round of applause.
"Pope Benedict XVI," Francis noted, "has given us a great example in this respect. When the Lord made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart-and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow."
"Our Lady," he said in conclusion, "with great simplicity, listened to and meditated deep within herself upon the Word of God and what was happening to Jesus. She followed her son deep conviction with steadfast hope. May Mary help us become more and more men and women of conscience-free in our conscience, because it is in conscience that the dialogue with God is given-men and women able to hear the voice of God and follow it with decision."
After the Angelus, Francis noted that today the world is celebrating the 'Day for the charity of the Pope' in which offerings are collected for the of the pope's pastoral work. The pope thanked bishops and parishes, "especially the poorest ones, for the prayers and offerings that support the many pastoral initiatives and charitable activities of the Successor of Peter in every part of the world. Thank you all!"