VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must be on guard against the spirit of worldliness that confuses and blurs the lines between what is good and what is evil, Pope Francis said.
While the Holy Spirit gives men and women “the strength to remain in the Lord,” there are still Christians who “even today identify the Holy Spirit only with the dove,” the pope said Jan. 7 in his homily during morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“The Holy Spirit brings you to God and if you sin, the Holy Spirit protects you and helps you to get up,” he said. “But the spirit of the world brings you to corruption, to the point that you can’t distinguish between what is good and what is bad; it is all the same, everything is the same.”
In his homily, the pope reflected on the reading from 1 John 3:22-4:6, in which the apostle encourages the early Christian community to “not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God” or the world.
“What is this putting the spirit to the test?” the pope asked. “It is simply this: When you feel something, when you want to do something or you have an idea, a judgment of something, ask yourself, ‘Does this feeling come from the spirit of God or the spirit of the world?'”
Too many Christians today, he said, “live without knowing what is happening in their own hearts” and “do not know how to examine” what is happening within them.
Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to examine their consciences and to take a moment during the day or before going to bed to reflect on “what has passed in my heart today.”
“What is the spirit that has moved within my heart?” he asked. “The Spirit of God, the gift of God, the Holy Spirit that always leads me forward to the encounter with the Lord or the spirit of the world that distances me softly, slowly from the Lord and is a very, very slow slippery slope?”
“Let us ask for this grace of remaining in the Lord, and let us pray to the Holy Spirit so that we may remain in the Lord and that he may give us the grace of distinguishing the spirits, that is, what is moving within us,” the pope said.
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103