VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Faith isn’t something decorative one adds to life, but is a commitment that involves making choices that may require sacrifice, Pope Francis said.
Faith “is not decorating your life with a bit of religion as if life were a cake that you decorate with cream,” the pope said Aug. 18 before reciting the Angelus with visitors in St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis’ Angelus address included an explanation of a passage from the day’s Gospel reading from Luke in which Jesus tells his disciples: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
Jesus was telling his disciples that loving and serving God had to be the “basic criteria of life,” Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered under the midday sun to pray with him.
“Following Jesus means renouncing evil, selfishness and choosing goodness, truth and justice even when that requires sacrifice and renouncing our own interests.”
Living a truly Christian life can lead to division, even within families, the pope said. “But attention: It’s not Jesus who divides. He sets out the criteria: Live for oneself or for God and others, ask to be served or serve; obey one’s ego or obey God — it is in this sense that Jesus is a ‘sign of contradiction.'”
When Jesus told his disciples he had come to “set the world on fire,” the pope said, he was not authorizing the use of force to spread the faith. “Rather, it is the exact opposite: The true force of the Christian is the force of truth and love, which means renouncing the use of violence.”
“Faith and violence are incompatible,” he said.
At the same time, Pope Francis said, “faith and strength go together. The Christian is not violent, but is strong. And with what strength? That of meekness — the strength of meekness, the strength of love.”
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: