Vatican Radio is reporting on a homily given by Pope Francis this morning at Casa Santa Marta in which he commented on the readings of the day which focused on the subject of mercy.
We are all sinners, the pope said, but not just in theory - in reality.
“We are all masters, professors of self-justification: ‘No it wasn’t me, it’s not my fault, maybe yes, but not so much…that’s not the way it is…’ We all have an alibi to explain away our shortcomings, our sins, and we are often to put on a face that says ‘I do not know,’ a face that says ‘I didn’t do it, maybe someone else did’ an innocent face. This is no way to lead a Christian life,” he said.
Instead, we need to behave differently.
“The first step is to judge ourselves. Without saying anything out loud. Between you and your conscience. Walking down the street, I pass by a prison and say: ‘Well, they deserve it’ - yet do you know that if it weren’t for the grace of God you would be there? Did you ever think that you are capable of doing the things that they have done, even worse? This is what judging yourself means, not hiding from the roots of sin that are in all of us, the many things we are capable of doing, even if we cannot seen them.”
He continued: “This Lent, it would do us all good to have this dialogue with the Lord: self-accusation. Let us ask for mercy. In the Gospel Jesus is clear: ‘Be merciful as your Father is merciful’. When one learns to accuse oneself first then we are merciful to others: ‘But, who am I to judge, if I am able to do things that are worse?’.”
The pope concluded with the prayer: "May the Lord, in this Lent give us the grace to learn to judge ourselves" in the knowledge that we are capable "of the most evil things" and say, "Have mercy on me, Lord, help me to be ashamed and grant me mercy, so I may be merciful to others".
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