“Snake charmers”, “charlatans”, ”swindlers”. Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2018 is a warning against today’s “false prophets” who offer cheap happiness, easy earnings and illusory liberations - in short, those “who offer easy and immediate solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless” – robbing, instead, “people of all that is most precious: dignity, freedom and the ability to love”.
The papal document - released today but dated November 1, 2017, Solemnity of All Saints - is a warning against that “violence” against anyone we think is a threat to our own “certainties”: the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbour who does not live up to our expectations.
“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” - as the title of the message, taken from the Gospel of Mark says – the first victims are young people. How many of them “are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships, of easy but dishonest gains! How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly “virtual” existence, in which relationships appear quick and straightforward, only to prove meaningless! These swindlers, in peddling things that have no real value, rob people of all that is most precious: dignity, freedom and the ability to love. They appeal to our vanity, our trust in appearances, but in the end, they only make fools of us... And “there is no coming back from the ridiculous”, the Pope warns.
Jesus had already announced it on the Mount of Olives, where his passion would begin, “a great tribulation” will come and the community of believers might well “find itself amid great trials. False prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many”.
In order to confound the human heart, the devil, who is “a liar and the father of lies”, has always presented evil as good, falsehood as truth” to make people cry out in loneliness, in closure, in despair. “That is why each of us is called to peer into our heart to see if we are falling prey to the lies of these false prophets” the Pontiff affirms, recalling the image of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, which pictures the devil seated on a throne of ice, in frozen and loveless isolation.
Following the devil there are all those “snake charmers” who “manipulate human emotions in order to enslave others and lead them where they would have them go”. How many of God’s children are mesmerized by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for true happiness! How many men and women live entranced by the dream of wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests! How many go through life believing that they are sufficient unto themselves, and end up entrapped by loneliness!”.
“We must learn to look closely, beneath the surface, and to recognize what leaves a good and lasting mark on our hearts, because it comes from God and is truly for our benefit”. the Pope exhorts us.
Francis then warns against “greed for money” which is “the root of all evils” and which is followed by “the rejection of God” as well as by “violence” which affects all those who do not live up to our “expectations”. Therefore, unborn children, elderly, sick, foreigners. “Creation itself becomes a silent witness to this cooling of charity”. “The earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for self-interest. The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration. The heavens, which in God’s plan, were created to sing his praises, are rent by engines raining down implements of death”.
The Pontiff then lists in his message the most evident signs of this “lack of love”, those already indicated in the Evangelii Gaudium, “selfishness and spiritual sloth, sterile pessimism, the temptation to self-absorption, constant warring among ourselves, and the worldly mentality that makes us concerned only for appearances, and thus lessens our missionary zeal”.
As a remedy for these evils, the Bishop of Rome indicates the three “remedies” that the Church offers us in the Lenten season: prayer, almsgiving and fasting. “By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception”. Almsgiving, on the other hand, “ sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister: What I possess is never mine alone “. How I would like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us! Francis says, “As I would like us, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance, we would see such requests as coming from God himself”.
Finally, fasting. It, the Pope assures us, “it weakens our tendency to violence, it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth.” On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.
The Pope’s invitation goes “beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church, and to reach all of you, men and women of good will, who are open to hearing God’s voice”. Perhaps, like ourselves, you are disturbed by the spread of iniquity in the world, you are concerned about the chill that paralyzes hearts and actions, and you see a weakening in our sense of being members of the one human family. Join us, then, in raising our plea to God, in fasting, and in offering whatever you can to our brothers and sisters in need!”, the Pontiff says.
Finally, he recalls the traditional “24 hours for the Lord” initiative, invites the entire Church community to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration In 2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness”, this will take place from Friday, 9 March to Saturday, 10 March. In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for twenty-four consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.
Alcuni diritti riservati.
Source : http://www.lastampa.it/2018/02/06/vaticaninsider/beware-of-the-illusions-of-charlatans-who-trigger-violence-against-those-who-do-not-live-up-to-our-expectations-4mADPfxwiC2UAmgOu9bIAJ/pagina.htmlThanks you for read my article Beware Of The Illusions Of “charlatans”, Who Trigger “violence Against Those Who Do Not Live Up To Our Expectations