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Pope: You cannot proclaim the Gospel if you are a ‘slave to sorrow’

By on Friday, 31 May 2013

The Pope prays after a Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

The Pope prays after a Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

It is impossible to proclaim Jesus if you are a “slave” to your sorrows, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.

According to Vatican Radio, he said: “It’s the Spirit that guides us: He is the author of joy, the Creator of joy. And this joy in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy, we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. The great Paul VI said that you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot. A certain mournful behaviour, no?

“Often Christians behave as if they were going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God, no? And this joy comes from praise, Mary’s praise, this praise that Zephaniah speaks of, Simeon and Anna’s praise: this praise of God!”

Addressing the congregation at the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, he said: “You here at Mass, do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God? Do you praise God? This is something new, new in our new spiritual life. Giving praise to God, coming out of ourselves to give praise; spending a little bit of time giving praise.

“But ‘this Mass is so long!’ If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring: it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free. ”

The Pope concluded by saying that Mary brings the greatest joy, which is Jesus.

He said: “We need to pray to Our Lady, so that bringing Jesus gives us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom. He concluded by what the Church says: ‘Lady, thou who art so great, visit us and give us joy.’”

  • Benedict Carter

    Christian joy comes directly from having a clean soul and being in a state of grace. It is primarily, therefore, internal. It shines out from within. External grins, the inane fixed smile of the person trying to be joyful, isn’t it at all.

    I understand what he’s saying but frankly I don’t like the Pope’s words here. Talking about Christian joy without saying how it is achieved only encourages the view, so prevalent in our western culture, that it’s all about ‘feelings’.

    No. To be joyful as a Christian, one must be free of sin. Only then does the Holy Spirit dwell within a soul.

  • Knight John

    Thank you very much for your thoughts Pope Francis. It is important to see the Holy Mass as praise and thanksgiving to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us.

  • Hermit Crab

    “The sorrow of the world worketh death,” but “the sorrow that is according to God worketh penance”, and we all need to do penance.

  • Charles

    Almost 99% of sermons I’ve heard at churches have been either boring shallow platitudes or vague and abstract doubletalk. Clearer instructions on “how to be” joyful or a good Catholic based on scripture and tradition would be more instructive than just cliches without depth or substance.

  • Ron Van Wegen

    Scripture often speaks of giving God a “sacrifice of praise”, something which has always confused ne. Anyone?

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Our Pope is trying to tackle people who are not Christians on practical level.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    All my life in some Kerala Churches one thing I have noticed only after the homily (Prasagam) young people come in. It is so boring to listen to most of the Priests. They place long institutional demands and needs in front of people and make them pay. Hardily anyone gives God’s Word and even if they give, it is so dry, intellectual and detached. Now a days young people are not even much seen in Churches. Church function are so burdensome. SIGNS of dying Churches?

    The Priests and Bishops live in their own world except in few cases.

  • Benjamin Vallejo Jr

    Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam!

  • mark

    Yes and we mistake making churches alive with adding shallow hyped up pep rally like energy rather than what actually would revive churches which is relevant, clear, and inspirational moral guidance.

  • talia

    He does tell us how it is achieved, he is basically saying that joy stems from a constant gratitude to God and from that gratitude of all the gifts that He gives us should flow our praise to him. Also we are called to even be grateful of the sufferings that come into our lives because through suffering we can grow with Christ and truly follow him, as he suffered and died for our sins (St. Faustina writes about this in her diary). So if a sermon is boring at church perhaps offer it up as a sacrifice for something/someone and give praise to God for that chance to do something good with that small suffering. Also to be perfectly free of sin in this life isn’t realistic, we are all sinners who should strive for sainthood but to be “free of sin” entirely? That is why we have the sacrament of reconciliation. We confess our sins and then do penance for them throughout our lives. Another gift which brings joy.

  • Benedict Carter

    To be free from mortal sin is entirely realistic. That’s what those things *Confession* and *Grace* are for.

    Venial sin is virtually always with us, yes.

    It is sin that makes us sad, and I am sure it is sin that burdens so many millions with depression in this mad modern world.

    I didn’t mention boring sermons. But while we are on the subject, not every priest can preach well that’s for sure. Those by SSPX are rarely boring, often magnificent. Another marvellous preacher, very different from the SSPX, is the parish priest of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in Moscow. But the best I ever heard was Father Oswald Baker, RIP, parish priest of Downham Market in Norfolk (who refused point-blank ever to say the New Mass, and never did), whose preaching electrified you – hairs standing up on the back of your neck stuff.

    Sermons anyway for me are a low priority at Mass. The essence of the Mass lies elsewhere. Or did do, when the Mass was still 100% Catholic.

  • J D

    “Don’t Worry, Be Happy..” is not effective theology. Modernists think that a Hegelian dialectic, what is known as “triangulation” in contemporary politics, will serve as an elixir to any problem. Merely paint each side as you wish and then represent your opinion as the “reasonable” compromise. Use purposeful ambiguity, letting each side of a difficulty project their hopes on your slippery sophistry, and then run to the rescue with some superficial gesture or “further clarification” by some bureaucratic apparitichik.

    It is the HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS! Had the modernists been at Calvary, you can almost see them imploring Our Lady of Sorrows to snap out of it and join them in some rousing, hand-clapping rendition of “This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made..”

    As The Church wallows in it’s nadir, refusing to repent, reform, and undo the damage of the last 5 decades, I, for one, will never forget the Immaculate Tears shed at Lasallete, Her Heart-felt requests at Fatima, or Her Bloody Tears at Akita.

    The ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, and APOSTOLIC Church is about the proper shepherding of souls. It is not doing public-relations for an industry that continues to pay hush money to save the reputations of cowardly apostles. It is not continuing to play footsie with left-leaning politicians to save their place in line at the public trough. It is not ignoring that everything wrong in The Church, the only institution in creation that can effectively address the grave errors destroying civilization and souls today, starts FIRSTLY at the front door of every Prince of The Church.

    Speaking to the laity, without publicly corraling Cardinals, is as ridiculous as it is futile.

    We don’t need to return to the hippy theology of the 60′s or the rampant experimentation of the 70′s. What is needed is a “Catholic” solution. That is repenting publicly for the behavior of the past half-century, amending, repairing, and atoning.

    This should not be reduced to an academic treatise on “pastoral” approaches, but instead focusing entirely on the eternal destiny of literally millions, if not billions, of souls.

    May God have Mercy on us all…

  • Benedict Carter

    For Peter:

    This morning (1st June) the Holy Father’s sermon at Mass returned to the subject of those who see the Church as an NGO.

    ‘It would do us all good to think about this: the Church is not a cultural organisation that [includes] religion and social work. The Church is the family of Jesus [...] If we become “reasonable” Christians, “social” Christians, Christians who only do philanthropy, what will be the consequence? That we will never have martyrs: that will be the consequence. When, however, we Christians tell the truth, that “The Son of God is come, and was made flesh,” when we preach the scandal of the Cross, persecutions will come, the Cross will come, and that will be fine, for “such is our life’.

    This is the most Catholic thing this Pope has said so far. Very good to see it.

  • Julian Lord

    Benedict, the Pope is preparing an Encyclical on the poor ; we can only hope and pray that this forthcoming work will set all of these questions straight in Peter’s mind, and the minds of all of these “social justice catholics”, once and for all.

    Its reported title is encouraging, certainly : Beati Pauperes, that is to say : “Blessed are the Poor” — NOT “Damned to Hellfire are those who fail to engage in wealth redistribution activities of social justice

  • Benedict Carter

    Hope you are right, Jabba.

  • Benedict Carter

    Great post.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Interesting question, Ron.

    It has been mentioned that we need to “come out of ourselves” to give praise to God. Isn’t it easier and cozier to remain all wrapped up in our own thoughts, feelings, and desires? To shed for a moment the wrappings in which we have swathed ourselves, and then to direct our awareness to the presence and qualities of Another, to find or to formulate words of praise for Him; to put the necessary time and energy into speaking those words as they ought to be spoken – all this can, indeed, represent a real giving up of a part ourselves, that is, a sacrifice.

  • Julian Lord

    The word “sacrifice” does not refer to giving something up, it refers to the consecration of something to God.

    There’s a subtlety — if you sacrifice some time or some money or whatever material to God, then yes, this will entail a decision that these things no longer belong to oneself, but to Him, to His Church ; but if another sacrifice is one of praise, or love, or worship, then one does not lose them, because their consecration to God creates a very different focus in these things, because they are given to God which is to say shared with Him and shared in Him and are sublimated transcendentally by Him, whereas when we give our praise, or our love, or our worship to worldly things, then we remain trapped in worldly relationships of ownership, or desire, or submission towards those things.

    Properly understood, though, even the sacrifice to God of worldly things, such as some time or some money or whatever material, should be made within a sacrifice of love, and praise, and worship, so that these things too may be sublimated by God’s Presence in these acts of sacrifice that are made in our love for Him.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    I think I shall reply with the classic Catholic question:”can we say both / and”? That is to say, the dictionary definition* of _sacrifice_ includes both the (1) renunciation or voluntary act of depriving oneself of some good, and (2) the consecration of something to God. A Catholic understanding of the expression “sacrifice of praise” thus may rightly include *both* of these elements.

    * at least on my side of the pond (U.S.), the online dictionaries I consulted specify both meanings for this entry. Dictionaries of English available in the UK may vary from the U.S. sources.

  • Julian Lord

    Sure, I’m saying pretty much the same, just from a different angle