Pope: "The Christian style, without the Cross is not Christian, and if the cross is a cross without Jesus, it is not Christian"
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Christian style, without the cross is not a Christian, and if the cross is a cross without Jesus, it is not Christian. The Christian style takes up the cross with Jesus and moves forward "on a path that leads to joy." Humility, gentleness, generosity and "the every day cross" are "the Christian path" of which Pope Francis spoke today at the Mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta.
Vatican Radio reports that the Pope was inspired by the Gospel of the day, where Jesus says to his disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." This - says Francis Pope - is "the Christian path" because Jesus was the first to travel "this path".
"We can not think of the Christian life outside of this path. There is always this path that He first travelled: the path of humility, the path of humiliation even, of self annihilation to rise again. But this is the path. The Christian style, without the Cross is not Christian, and if the cross is a cross without Jesus, it is not Christian. The Christian style takes up the Cross with Jesus and moves forward. Not without the Cross, not without Jesus".
Jesus "gave the example" - the Pope said - and, although "being equal to God", he "emptied himself, became a servant for all of us". "And this style will save us, give us joy and make us fruitful, because this way of denying oneself to give life, goes against the path of selfishness, of being attached to possessions just for oneself... This path is open to others, because that path that Jesus took, of annihilation, that path was to give life. The Christian style is precisely this style of humility, gentleness, meekness".
"Whoever wants to save his life will lose it" - repeats Jesus - because "if the grain does not die, it can not bear fruit". And "this, with joy - the Pope said - because He gifts us joy. To follow Jesus is joy, but to follow Jesus in the style of Jesus, not with the style of the world". Following the Christian style means following the path of the Lord, "each of us as we can", "to give life to others, not to ourselves. This is the spirit of generosity". Our selfishness motivates us to want to look important in front of others. Instead, the book of the Imitation of Christ - the Pope observes - "gives us great advice: 'He loves being unknown and being judged a nobody'. This is Christian humility, what did Jesus first".
"And this is our joy, and this is our fertility: going with Jesus. Other joys are infertile; they promise - as the Lord says - the whole world, but in the end you lose everything and lives are ruined. At the beginning of Lent, let us ask the Lord to teach us all this style of Christian service, of joy, of annihilation of ourselves and fertility with Him, as He desires of us".