In his public audience, Pope Francis speaks of consolation

“True mourning is a kind of affirmation of the fact that we are doing what God wants of us, and that we are walking on his paths, that is, on the paths of life, joy and peace,” said His Holiness Pope Francis in la his weekly catechesis in the general audience with the faithful.

His Holiness Pope Francis conducted his general audience to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican this Wednesday morning and began his weekly catechesis by stating that as we continue our meditation on discernment and especially on the spiritual experience called “consolation”, we I wonder how can we know true consolation? It is a very important question for good discernment and not to be deceived in our search for our true good.

We find some criteria, continued Pope Francis, in a passage from the Spiritual Exercise of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in which we read: «If all is well in thoughts, beginning, middle and end, and if everything is oriented towards the , then this is a sign of a good angel. On the other hand, there may be in the course of thoughts something bad, distracting or less good than the soul previously suggested, or something that weakens the soul, makes it restless , puts him in a state of turmoil, and takes away from him the peace, peace and quiet he used to have: for this, then, is a clear sign that such thoughts come from the bad spirit.

The Holy Father added that these are precious instructions that deserve a brief comment. What does it mean that the beginning is oriented towards good? For example, I have an idea for praying, and I notice that it is accompanied by affection for the Lord and neighbor, and it calls me to acts of generosity and love: it’s a good start. However, it can happen that this idea was born to avoid a job or a task that was assigned to me: every time I have to wash the dishes or clean the house, I have a great desire to go and pray! But prayer is not an escape from our duties, on the contrary, it is an aid to the realization of the good that we are called to do here and now. This is about the beginning.

The Supreme Pontiff went on to say, then there is the middle, that is, what comes after that idea. To continue in the previous parable, if I begin to pray, and like the Pharisee does in the parable, I tend to please myself and despise others, perhaps resentfully and bitingly, these are signs that the evil spirit has used this idea as a key to enter my heart and convey his feelings to me. Then there’s the end. The end is an aspect that we have seen, namely: where does this idea take me? For example, it may happen that I work very hard for a good and worthy job, but this makes me stop praying, and I find that I have become more aggressive and mean, and I believe that everything depends on me, until I lose faith in God It is clear here that there is the work of the evil spirit.

Pope Francis added, saying that the enemy’s method – we know it – is to present himself in a hidden and disguised way: he begins with what we hold most dear and then draws us to it, little by little: evil enters from hidden, without anyone noticing. Over time, kindness turns into harshness: and that idea appears for what it is. Hence the importance of this patient and indispensable examination of the origin and truth of our thoughts; It is an invitation to learn from experiences, from what happens to us, so as not to keep repeating the same mistakes. The more we get to know each other, the more we will discern where the evil spirit enters, its “passwords”, the doors through which it enters our heart, which are the points where we are most sensitive, to pay attention to in the future.

The Holy Father went on to say that we can multiply the examples as we wish, reflecting on our days. And this we must do: the daily examination of conscience is very important: it is the precious effort to re-read our life from a certain point of view. Paying attention to what is happening is important, it is a sign that God’s grace is working in us, helping us to grow in freedom and awareness. Thus, true mourning is a kind of affirmation that we are doing what God wants us to do, and that we are walking in his paths, that is, in the paths of life, joy and peace. In fact, discernment does not focus only on the good or on the greatest possible good, but on what is good for me here and now: I am called to grow in this, and to set limits on other attractive but untrue proposals, so as not to I was deceived in the pursuit of true good.

Pope Francis concluded his weekly catechesis by saying: Brothers and sisters, we need to understand, to move forward in understanding what is happening in our hearts. For this we need an examination of conscience to see what happened today. “Today I got angry there, and I didn’t…”: But why? And more than the “why” we must look for the roots of these errors. «Today I was happy but bored because I had to help these people, but in the end I felt joy and satisfaction for this help»: And there is the Holy Spirit. We must learn to read in the book of our heart what happened during the day. Do it even for just a couple of minutes, but it will do you good, I assure you.

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