“You can follow thousands of catechism courses, thousands of spirituality courses, thousands of yoga or zen courses and all these things. But none of this will be able to give you the freedom as a child (of God). Only the Holy Spirit can prompt your heart to say ‘Father’,” Francis said in this morning’s homily for the mass he celebrated in St. Martha’s House. The Pope returned to the scene of Mark’s Gospel where the disciples are scared when they see Jesus walking on water toward them. The Gospel passage ends with a thought as to why they feel scared: the apostles had not understood the miracle of the bread loaves because “their hearts were hardened”.
A person’s heart can be made of stone for many reasons, such as, for example, a painful experience in one’s life, such as that of the disciples of Emmaus who were afraid to be disappointed once again, or Thomas, who refuses to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. Another reason for hardened hearts,” Francis explained, “is because people are closed in on themselves.”
“Creating a world within one self, all closed in. Closed within oneself, in one’s community or parish, but always closed in. And this closure can revolve around so many things. But let’s think about pride, self-sufficiency, thinking I am better than others, and vanity too, right? We have ‘mirror-men and women’ (who are wedded to their own image in the mirror), who are closed in on themselves and are constantly looking at themselves, right? These religious narcissists, right? But they have a hardened heart because they are closed in on themselves, they are not open. And they seek to defend themselves with these walls that they have created around themselves.”
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