Catholics should avoid a “pick and mix” approach to the faith, choosing “a bit of the Holy Spirit and “a bit of the spirit of this world”, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.
Reflecting on today’s reading from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, he said: “This is salvation: to live in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, not the consolation of the spirit of this world. No, that is not salvation, that is sin. Salvation is moving forward and opening our hearts so they can receive the Holy Spirit’s consolation, which is salvation.
“This is non-negotiable, you can’t take a bit from here and a bit from there? We cannot pick and mix, no? A bit of the Holy Spirit, a bit of the spirit of this world… No! It’s one thing or the other.”
Turning to today’s Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12, in which Jesus proclaims the Beatitudes, he said: “They are the new commandments. But if we do not have a heart open to the Holy Spirit, they will seem silly. ‘Just look, being poor, being meek, being merciful will hardly lead us to success.’
“If we do not have an open heart and if we have not experienced the consolation of the Holy Spirit, which is salvation, we cannot understand this. This is the law for those who have been saved and have opened their hearts to salvation. This is the law of the free, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
“Today we can now ask the Lord for the grace to follow Him, but with this freedom. Because if we want to follow him with our human freedom alone, in the end we become hypocrites like the Pharisees and Sadducees, those who quarreled with him. This is hypocrisy: not allowing the Spirit to change our hearts with His salvation.
“The freedom of the Spirit, which the Spirit gives us, is also a kind of slavery, of being ‘enslaved’ to the Lord which makes us free, it is another freedom. Instead, our freedom is only slavery, but not to the Lord, but to the spirit of the world.
“Let us ask for the grace to open our hearts to the consolation of the Holy Spirit, so that this consolation, which is salvation, allows us to understand these commandments. So be it!”