Pope at Audience: Humility essential for Christian life, brings world peace

Concluding his General Audience cycle of catecheses on the virtues, Pope Francis speaks about the virtue of humility as we acknowledge that we are creatures of God and strive to live accordingly.

By Thaddeus Jones

Pope Francis explained how humility is key to Christian life and helps bring peace to the world and harmony in the Church. Humility marked the theme of his Wednesday General Audience held in Saint Peter's Square and the conclusion of his cycle of catecheses on the virtues. The Pope illustrated how humility is at the foundation of Christian life as we "acknowledge that we are creatures of God and strive to live accordingly."

Restoring all through humility

Humility is the "great antagonist of the most mortal of sins, namely arrogance," the Pope began, and whereas pride and arrogance make us think we are greater than we are, "humility restores everything to its correct dimension: we are wonderful creatures, but we are limited, with qualities and flaws." The Pope recalled how the Bible reminds us "we are dust, and to dust we shall return" (cf. Gen 3:19), and we must be on guard against the danger the "delirium of omnipotence" that can often arise in the human heart.

Breaking free of arrogance

Contemplating a starry sky, the mystery and grandeur creation can help free ourselves of arrogance, the Pope went on to say, as we can only be overcome with awe and wonder at the beauty of God's creation, as the Psalmist says, “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).

The Pope recalled how in the Beatitudes, Jesus starts with the humble, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:3), followed by the meek, merciful, pure of heart, all stemming from a "inner sense of smallness."

Following the example of Jesus and Mary

The life of the Blessed Virgin Mary shines with her humility seen not only in her joyful acceptance of the Lord’s will, but also in charity toward her cousin Elizabeth, the Pope explained. We see her humility in her perseverance beneath the cross and her prayerful presence among the Apostles in the Upper Room, as they awaited the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he added. 

“May Mary's example and powerful intercession help us to overcome our temptations to pride, to follow humbly in the footsteps of Jesus, and to bear witness to the joy and peace of his Kingdom.”

In conclusion, the Pope emphasized that humility brings peace in the world and in the Church, and where humility is lacking, there is war, discord and division. He said God has given us the example of humility in Jesus and Mary for our salvation and happiness,  "and humility is precisely the way, the path to salvation."

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22 May 2024, 10:11

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