Pope: following Jesus is an amazing, but tiring 'path of freedom'

The "desires of the flesh" - envy, prejudices, hypocrisies and grudges - should not be pursued, avoiding the temptation to resort to "a preceptual rigidity" that would lead "off the path of freedom and, instead of climbing to the summit, one would return to the bottom."


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Following Jesus is an "amazing but tiring path" for which the "desires of the flesh" - envy, prejudices, hypocrisies and grudges - should not be pursued avoiding the temptation to turn towards "a preceptistic rigidity" that would make one leave "the path of freedom and, instead of climbing to the summit, one would return to the bottom."

This was Pope Francis' reflection during the general audience on the theme "Walking according to the Spirit" , continuing the cycle of catechesis on St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians.

Eight thousand people gathered in the Paul VI Hall, and Francis told them that Paul affirms that "believing in Jesus means following him, going after him on his path, as the first disciples did. And it means at the same time to avoid the opposite road, that of selfishness, of seeking one's own interest, which the Apostle calls 'desire of the flesh'."

"The Spirit is the guide of this journey on the way of Christ," a journey represented, in the Pope's words, by "a long hike in the high mountains: it is fascinating, the goal attracts us, but it requires great effort and tenacity."

"Trodding along this way, the Christian acquires a positive vision of life. This does not mean that the evil present in the world disappears, or that the negative impulses of our egoism and pride diminish. Rather, it means that belief in God is always stronger than our resistance and greater than our sins. And this is important: to believe that God is greater, always. Greater than our resistances, greater than our sins."

"This “walking according to the Spirit” is not only an individual task: it also concerns the community as a whole. In fact, it is exciting, but demanding, to build up the community according to the way indicated by the Apostle. The “desires of the flesh”, “the temptations”, we can say, that all of us have – that is, our jealousies, prejudices, hypocrisies and resentments continue to make themselves felt – and having recourse to a rigid set of precepts can be an easy temptation." He added "Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. . The Pope continued "Quite different than gossiping, like when we see something and we talk behind the persons back about it, right? To gossip about our neighbour. No, this is not according to the Spirit. "

"What is according to the Spirit is being gentle with a brother or sister when correcting him or her and keeping watch over ourselves so as not to fall into those sins, that is, humility." "The Holy Spirit invites us to be in solidarity, to bear other’s burdens. ...Therefore, brothers and sisters, whenever someone is caught in some fault, […] correct him in this way, gently, gently. And if you raise your voice, love within. If you encourage, if you present yourself as a father, if you reprove, if you are severe, love” (Discourse 163/B 3). Love always."  "The supreme rule regarding fraternal correction is love: to want the good of our brothers and sisters. It takes a lot of time to also tolerate others’ problems, others’ defects in the silence of prayer, so as to find the right way to help them to correct themselves. And this is not easy. The easiest path is to gossip. Talking behind someone else’s back as if I am perfect. And this should not be done. Gentleness. Patience. Prayer. Proximity.Let us walk with joy and patience along this path, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit."

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