FOOTSTEPS AND FINGERPRINTS
I would like to share with you an excerpt from a Lenten homily by Pope Francis during his morning Mass on March 7, 2019, at the beginning of Lent. His reflections invite us to pause and examine the state of our heart, especially this Lenten season.
In his homily, reported by “Vatican News,” the Holy Father stressed: “When the heart retreats, when it takes a path that isn’t right . . . it loses its direction, it loses its compass with which it must advance. And a heart without a compass is a public danger: it’s a danger for the person and for others.”
The heart “takes this erroneous path when it doesn’t listen, when it lets itself be led, carried away by gods, when it becomes an idolater,” he explained. “We become deaf of soul, we don’t listen to the Lord.” It’s an attitude that makes one lose “the memory of the great things that the Lord has done in our life, that He has done in the Church and in His people,” and the Christian ends up by counting on his own strength.
The Pontiff attributed this loss of memory to spiritual comfort. “Well-being and also spiritual well-being, enclose this danger — the danger of falling into a certain amnesia, a lack of memory: I’m well like this and I forget what the Lord has done in my life, all the graces He has given me, and I think they are merited . . . And the heart begins to retreat, because it doesn’t listen to the voice of its heart: the memory.”
Idolatry is “not only going to a pagan temple and adoring a statue . . . Idolatry is an attitude of the heart, when you prefer something because it’s easier . . . Because you’ve forgotten the Lord.”
Hence Pope Francis’ invitation to begin Lent with “the grace of the memory.” The “memory of all that the Lord has done in my life: how He’s loved me.” It’s necessary “to remember to advance: not to lose the history – the history of salvation, the history of my life, the history of Jesus with me,” he stressed.
In conclusion, the Pope exhorted to repeat to oneself “continually” Paul’s words to Timothy: “Remember Jesus resurrected from the dead,” “Remember Jesus, Jesus who has accompanied me up to the present and who will accompany me up to the moment I will appear before Him, glorious.”