MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
Service and gratuitousness
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
During his homily at Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, 11 June, the Holy Father identified two qualities that should accompany Christians on their journey: service and gratuitousness. Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt 10:7-13) in which Jesus instructs the Apostles on how to conduct themselves as they preach the Word of God, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that, as successors of the Apostles, Christians should always be on a journey of service. “Christian life is to serve”, he stressed. It is very sad, he continued, to see “Christians who at the start of their conversion or of their awareness of being Christian, serve, are open to service; they serve the People of God”, but then wind up using them instead. This Francis warned, “does great harm to the People of God”.
As he continued his reflection, the Holy Father said that “the core of salvation” is to “give freely what you freely received”. Because salvation cannot be bought and was given freely to us by God, it is a matter of using the same principle with others as God demonstrated with us. “Sometimes when we need something spiritual or a grace, we say: ‘Well now I will fast, I will do penance, I will pray a novena...’”. While all this is good, “let us be careful: this is not to ‘pay’ for the grace or to ‘purchase’ the grace; this is to expand your heart so that grace may be granted”.
Pope Francis noted that this is particularly true of the pastors of the Church. It is distressing, he continued, when “pastors do business with God’s grace”, because “the Lord’s grace is free and you must give it freely”.
With regard to spiritual life, “there is always the danger of slipping” into the idea of payments, “even when speaking with the Lord, as if we wished to bribe the Lord”. Our relationship of gratuitousness with God “is what will later help us to share it with others, both in Christian witness and in Christian service as in the pastoral life of those who are pastors of the People of God”. Thus, Pope Francis concluded, “may our life of holiness be this expansion of the heart so that the gratuitousness of God, God’s grace ... may reach our heart”.
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