That and much more, from his impromptu remarks today to seminarians and novices:
Pope Francis on Saturday evening told future nuns and priests and consecrated laypeople to keep “freshness” and “joy” in their lives, as he said: “There is no sadness in holiness”.
Speaking to participants in a four-day international event for Seminarians, Novices and those on a vocational journey, Francis gave an off-the-cuff lecture to seminarians and novices from across the globe, gathered in the Paul VI Hall.
In his remarks, the Pope urged those present not to be tempted by a culture that exalts provisional values, and he told them to avoid trappings like the latest smartphones and expensive cars so they can devote more resources to help the poor.
“It is not you that I reproach” said the Pope, and he specified that it is today’s culture of the provisional of which we are all victims that does not help us: “because in this day and age it is very difficult to make a definitive choice”. He pointed out that when he was young it was easier because the culture of the time favoured definitive choices, be it in conjugal life, in consecrated life or in priestly life. But today – he said “it is not easy to make a definitive choice. We are victims of this culture of the provisional”.
And then Pope Francis took seminarians and novices to task for being “too serious, too sad”. “Something’s not right here,” Francis told them pointing out that `’There is no sadness in holiness,” and adding that such clergy lack `’the joy of the Lord.”
“To become a priest or a religious is not primarily our choice; it is our answer to a calling, a calling of love”.
`’If you find a seminarian, priest, nun, with a long, sad face, if it seems as if in their life someone threw a wet blanket over them,” then one should conclude `’it’s a psychiatric problem, they can leave – `buenos dias’”.
And he highlighted the fact that he wasn’t talking about superficial joy – `’the thrill of a moment doesn’t really make us happy,” warning against the temptation to seek `’the joy of the world in the latest smartphone, the fastest car.”
“It hurts my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car” he said. And Francis continued saying “cars are necessary. But take a more humble one. Think of how many children die of hunger’ and dedicate the savings to them”.
Urging all those with vocations to be authentic and true, the Pope also reminded them never to be afraid to recognise their own sins. And speaking of their formation, Francis said there are four fundamental pillars: spiritual formation; intellectual formation; apostolic life – during which one must go forth and announce the Gospel; and community living. “On these four pillars” – Pope Francis said “you must build your vocations”.
During his remarks, Pope Francis also praised the late Mother Teresa, who cared for the most impoverished sick of Calcutta, India, and held her up as a courageous example. “I would like a more missionary church,”’ the pope told the young people “’Not so much a tranquil church, but a beautiful church that goes forward.”
The Day for Seminarians and Novices concludes on Sunday, with Mass presided by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.