VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Remembering that first encounter and that initial feeling of loving and being loved is as important in one’s faith life as it is marriage, Pope Francis said during his early morning Mass.

“If we throw away the enthusiasm that comes from the memory of that first love,” he said, “the greatest danger for Christians draws near: tepidness. Lukewarm Christians.”


Preaching Jan. 30 during Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives, Pope Francis said remembering “the great joy” of knowing one was saved by Jesus and “the desire to do great things” for God and for others is necessary for keeping one’s faith burning brightly.

Reporting on the homily, Vatican Radio said Pope Francis warned that when Christians do not keep in mind that original experience of grace and faith, they become “spiritually inert.”

Lukewarm Christians, he said, “are there, stopped, and yes, they are Christians, but they have lost the memory of that first love. And they have lost their enthusiasm, but also they have lost their patience, that ability to tolerate things with the spirit of the love of Jesus,” and, especially, “to tolerate those things they must carry on their shoulders, those difficulties.”

“Poor lukewarm Christians,” the pope said. “They are in serious danger.”