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Pope in Santa Marta: Vanity is like the “osteoporosis of the soul”

2016-09-22

During his Thursday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pope spoke about two types of anxiety; one that is "good” and comes from the Holy Spirit and another that is "bad” and comes from a guilty conscience. The pope says that "vanity is like the osteoporosis of the soul,” because it hides deep within the realities of life. 

POPE FRANCIS
"How many people do we know that appear one way: ‘What a good person! He goes to Mass every Sunday. He makes great donations to the Church.’ This is how they appear, but the osteoporosis is the corruption they have within. There are people like this – but there are also holy people! – who do this. This is vanity: You try to appear with a face like a pretty picture, and yet your truth is otherwise. And where is our strength and security, our refuge?”

Pope Francis recalled the Gospel of the day when King Herod was worried because he felt threatened by Jesus after killing John the Baptist.  The pope concluded that a dirty conscience cannot live in peace.


EXCERPTS FROM HOMILY IN ENGLISH

"Vanity, the osteoporosis of the soul"

The day’s first Reading, taken from Ecclesiastes, speaks about vanity:
"The vanity that makes us swell up. The vanity that does not have long life, because it is like a soap bubble. The vanity that does not give us true gain. What profit comes to the person for all the effort he puts into worrying? He is anxious to appear, to pretend, to seem. This is vanity. If we want to speak simply: vanity is covering up real life. And this makes the soul sick. Because in the end, if they cover up their real life in order to appear or to seem a certain way, all the things they do to pretend… What is gained? Vanity is like an osteoporosis of the soul: the bones seem good on the outside, but within they are totally ruined. Vanity makes us a fraud.”

A face like an image in a picture, but the truth is otherwise:
"It’s like con men who "mark the cards” in order to win, the Pope continued. But "this victory is a fiction, it’s not true. This is vanity: living to pretend, living to seem, living to appear. And this makes the soul restless.” Pope Francis recalled the strong words Saint Bernard had for the vain: "Think of what you will be: food for worms.” Following on the saint’s thought, the Pope said, "All this ‘putting make-up’ on life is a lie, because the worms will eat you and you will be nothing.” What power does vanity have? he asked. 

Driven by pride to wickedness, it does not allow you to see your mistakes, "it covers everything, everything is covered”:
"How many people do we know that appear one way: ‘What a good person! He goes to Mass every Sunday. He makes great donations to the Church.’ This is how they appear, but the osteoporosis is the corruption they have within. There are people like this – but there are also holy people! – who do this. This is vanity: You try to appear with a face like a pretty picture, and yet your truth is otherwise. And where is our strength and security, our refuge? We read it in the psalm between the readings: ‘Lord, you have been our refuge from generation to generation.’ And before the Gospel we recalled the words of Jesus: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ This is the truth, not the cosmetics of vanity. May the Lord free us from these three roots of all evil: greed, vanity, and pride. But especially from vanity, that makes us so bad.”


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