In yesterday’s morning Mass at the Casa St. Martha before the Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience written of yesterday in this space, Pope Francis warned in his homily that the Church should first seek God’s will above what the world might view as material or political success, saying that the Church should not be only consumed with what he called “organization and success.”
“A Church that only thinks about triumphs (and) successes, does not know that rule of Jesus: the rule of triumph through failure, human failure, the failure of the Cross, and this is a temptation that we all have,” the Pope preached to Vatican employees at morning Mass in the chapel of Casa St. Martha yesterday morning.
The Holy Father recalled a time in his own spiritual journey that was particularly dark and he “asked a favor from the Lord” before going to give a retreat for a group of contemplative nuns.
“One elderly nun, over 80 years of age, but with clear, bright eyes came to confession: she was a woman of God. In the end I saw that she really was a woman of God so I said ‘Sister, as penance, pray for me, because I need a grace, ok? If you ask the Lord for this grace on my behalf, I am sure to receive it.’
“She stopped for a moment, as if in prayer, and said, ‘Of course the Lord will grant you this grace, but do not be deceived: in His own divine manner,’” Francis remembered, saying “this did me a lot of good. To hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but in His own divine way. And this is the divine way to the very end. The divine way involves the Cross, not out of masochism: no, no! Out of love. For love to the very end.”
The Pope’s preaching yesterday morning seemed to be a continuation of a theme that he picked up on in a homily delivered at daily Mass on Tuesday, when he preached that the world does not have the same understanding of “good” that Christ or the Church have, and that when Christians lack difficulties in life, something is amiss. “Many Christians, tempted by the spirit of the world, think that following Jesus is good because it can become a career, they can get ahead,” the Pope preached, “when a Christian has no difficulties in life – when everything is fine, everything is beautiful – something is wrong.”
Francis cited Blessed Theresa of Calcutta as a prime example of how the world views what is good as opposed to what truly makes a person do good. “Think of Mother Teresa: what does the spirit of the world say of Mother Teresa? ‘Ah, Blessed Teresa is a beautiful woman, she did a lot of good things for others.’ The spirit of the world never says that the Blessed Teresa spent, every day, many hours in adoration … Never!”