POPE FRANCIS ON THE CONVERSION OF THE HEART: Mere exterior fulfillment of the precepts is not enough. They must come from a pure heart with the right intention.


Pope Francis on the conversion of the heart.

POPE FRANCIS ON THE CONVERSION OF THE HEART:
Mere exterior fulfillment of the precepts is not enough. They must come from a purified heart.

Dear friends, in today’s Angelus, the Holy Father emphasized on the primacy of what is in our “heart” as the source of all our intentions and desires. Exterior observance of the precepts is not sufficient in itself but rather they must be manifestations of a pure heart from which arise all the good actions done out of love for God and for those around us. If not, we will be just like the Pharisees who gave more importance on what is exteriorly seen by others, without really doing them with the right intention.

Commenting on what Our Lord said in Mk 7: “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile“, the Pope said:

“The primacy of the interior of the ‘heart’: exterior things are not what makes us holy or not holy, but rather the heart that expresses our intentions, our desires and the desire to do everything for love of God.

Exterior expressions are the consequence of what we have decided in the heart, and not the other way around. With exterior expressions, if the heart doesn’t change, we are not true Christians. The border between good and evil does not lie outside of us, but rather within us, in our conscience.”

In the end, the Holy Father posed some questions to reflect upon:

“Where is my heart? Jesus said, your treasure is where your heart is. What is my treasure? Is it Jesus and his doctrine? My heart is good or my treasure is another thing? Thus, it is the heart that we must purify and convert. Without a purified heart, we can never have truly clean hands and lips that speak sincere words of love, mercy and forgiveness.

Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, to give us a pure heart, free of all hypocrisy — that’s the adjective that Jesus used with the Pharisees: hypocrites, because they say one thing and do another. Free from all hypocrisy so that in this way we are able to live according to the spirit of the law and reach its goal, which is love.”

Below is the translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square taken from www.zenit.org

Happy reading and meditation and a blessed week ahead to you and your loved ones!

-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.

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* * *

ZENIT, Vatican Square, August 30, 2015:

The Gospel of this Sunday presents a dispute between Jesus and some Pharisees and scribes. The discussion refers to the “tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:3), which Jesus, citing the Prophet Isaiah, defines as “human precepts.” And [saying] that they should never take the place of the “commandments of God.”

The ancient prescriptions in question included not only the precepts of God revealed to Moses but also a series of details to spell out the specifics of the instructions of the law of Moses.

The interlocutors applied these norms in a very scrupulous manner and presented them as the expression of authentic religiosity. Thus they rebuke Jesus and his disciples for transgressing them, particularly those that referred to the exterior purification of the body.

Jesus’ answer has the force of a prophetic pronouncement: “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

These are words that fill us with admiration for our Teacher: we feel that in Him is truth and that his wisdom liberates us from prejudice.

But, pay attention here. With these words Jesus wants to put us on guard, today, don’t you think? [on guard against] thinking that an exterior observance of the law is sufficient for being a good Christian. Just like back then for the Pharisees, there is also for us the danger of considering that all is well with us or that we’re better than the others because of the simple fact of observing certain rules or customs, even though we don’t love our neighbor, are hard of heart and proud.

 

The literal observance of precepts is sterile if it doesn’t change the heart and if it is not translated into concrete attitudes: opening oneself to the encounter with God and his word, seeking justice and peace, helping the poor, the weak and the oppressed.

We all know, from our communities, parishes and neighborhoods, the bad brought to the Church and the scandal caused by those people who call themselves very Catholic, who frequently go to church, but then, in their daily lives, don’t take care of their families, speak ill of others, etc.

This is what Jesus condemns because this is a Christian anti-testimony.

Continuing with his exhortation, Jesus focuses the attention on another, deeper aspect and affirms, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

In this way, he emphasizes the primacy of the interior of the “heart”: exterior things are not what makes us holy or not holy, but rather the heart that expresses our intentions, our desires and the desire to do everything for love of God.

Exterior expressions are the consequence of what we have decided in the heart, and not the other way around. With exterior expressions, if the heart doesn’t change, we are not true Christians. The border between good and evil does not lie outside of us, but rather within us, in our conscience.

We can ask ourselves: Where is my heart? Jesus said, your treasure is where your heart is. What is my treasure? Is it Jesus and his doctrine? My heart is good or my treasure is another thing? Thus, it is the heart that we must purify and convert. Without a purified heart, we can never have truly clean hands and lips that speak sincere words of love, mercy and forgiveness.

Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, to give us a pure heart, free of all hypocrisy — that’s the adjective that Jesus used with the Pharisees: hypocrites, because they say one thing and do another. Free from all hypocrisy so that in this way we are able to live according to the spirit of the law and reach its goal, which is love.

….

[Translation by ZENIT]

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.momorialcards.com/images/Christ.jpg

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