In his homily Friday morning Pope Francis said:
the spirit of the world does not want a community: it wants a mob, thoughtless, without freedom
According to the Vatican Radio translation, he advised:
The Lord wants us to understand what happens, what happens in my heart, what happens in my life, what happens in the world, in history… What is the meaning of what is happening now? These are the signs of the times!
While the spirit of the world wants us to take a “restricted path,” Saint Paul warns that the “spirit of the world treats us as thought we lack the ability to think for ourselves; it treats us like people who are not free”:
“Restricted thought, equal thought, weak thought, a thought so widespread. The spirit of the world does not want us to ask ourselves before God: ‘But why, why this other, why did this happen?’. Or it also offers a prêt-à-porter [‘ready to wear’] way of thinking, according to personal taste: ‘I think as I like!’. This is okay, they say…. But what the spirit of the world does not want is what Jesus asks of us: free thought, the thought of a man and a women who are part of the people of God, and salvation is exactly this! Think of the prophets… ‘You were not my people, now I say my people’: so says the Lord. And this is salvation: to make us people, God’s people, to have freedom.”
Pope Francis added that Jesus asks us “to think freely… in order to understand what happens.” The truth is that “we are not alone! We need the Lord’s help”. We need to “understand the signs of the times”: the Holy Spirit, he said, “gives us this present, a gift: the intelligence to understand”:
“What path does the Lord want? Always with the spirit of intelligence with which to understand the signs of the times. It is beautiful to ask the Lord for this grace, who sends us this spirit of intelligence, in order that we avoid weak thought, we do not have a restricted thought and we do not have a thought according to personal preference: we only have a thought according to God. With this thought, which is a thought of the mind, of heart, and of soul. With this thought, which is the gift of the Spirit, [we] look for the meaning of things, and to understand the signs of the time well.”
So much of our political, cultural, academic rhetoric talks about freedom. But it is so often pushing a false freedom. It is often not freedom at all, but conformity to ideologies of the world that would keep us here, keep us down, keep us from the uplift of the eternal, from union with boundless love and mercy. We’re confronting issues of religious liberty in our politics and the courts (including the Supreme Court). It will take free men and women acknowledging and surrendering to God’s Providence to let people see again why any of this is important, the possibilities it proposes, the blessed alternative reality it offers — one where peace is plausible and attainable. If only we can see God’s face … Pope Francis helps us on the road to encountering God’s love for us, so that we might show it, tell of it, share it, be instruments of it.
Like with his America interview, most of the world seemed to miss in “The Gospel of Joy” the other day the snapshot into Ignatian exercises of discerning the movements of the spirits in our own hearts. We must listen, identify good and evil. We must call things as they are. We must let the enemy be vanquished. We must look for, identify, and call out the signs. That’s how we live examined lives, nourished by the graces of the sacraments.
Don’t read this pope on a surface level. It’s a poverty to. And you know what he says about poverty … Which is why he is walking with us poor people!