VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must guard their hearts against the noises in this world that distract them from being open to receiving God’s grace, Pope Francis said.
Christians must know that God’s grace is available and their hearts must be free of “worldly noise,” so as to be ready at all times to receive it, he said June 15.
Reflecting on the day’s first reading (1 Cor 6:1-10) during his homily at the morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope said God’s grace “is a free gift,” which is offered to people of every age and it is up to each person to welcome it.
Citing St. Paul, he warned that Christians should “not receive God’s grace in vain” because they create scandal in doing so. The pope called it a “scandal” when a churchgoing Christian does not live a Christian life, but opts for a worldly life or lives “like a pagan.” He said people are scandalized when a Christian’s life is not coherent.
Furthermore, in order to be able to welcome God’s grace in the “acceptable time,” Christians must “guard their hearts … distancing any noise that does not come from the Lord” and keeping clear of “things that take peace away from us,” he said.
To guard one’s heart, he said, is “to be free from the passions.”
“The heart is guarded by humility, meekness, never by battles or war. No, this is noise: the noise of the world, pagan noise, the noise of the devil,” he said.
Drawing again from Scripture, the pope said a people must guard their hearts, even in times of “afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts.”
A Christian can guard his or her heart with “humility, kindness and patience,” he continued. Those values keep one’s gaze on God and one’s heart open to his grace when it comes.