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Pope in Santa Marta: avoid the temptation of spiritual masochism

Resuming his daily Masses in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about two particular temptations. One is to only follow Jesus, without the Cross, thus only wanting a spiritual teacher who can offer consolation. The other temptation, he explains, only leads to depression and lack of hope. 

POPE FRANCIS

“The other temptation is a cross without Christ, that is, the anguish of remaining down, depressed by the weight of sin and without hope. This is a type of spiritual masochism: only the cross, without hope and without Christ. The Cross is a mystery of love; the Cross is faithful; the Cross is noble.” 

Finally, he encouraged believers to ask themselves the following questions: Is Christ crucified a mystery of love? Do I follow a cross without Jesus? Do I follow Jesus without a cross?

EXCERPTS OF THE HOMILY IN ENGLISH
(Source: Vatican Radio)

“Jesus comes down from Heaven to raise all of us up to Heaven. This is the mystery of the Cross. “Jesus’ descent is to the lowest point, even unto humiliation. He emptied himself for love, and because of this God exalted him and made him go up. Only if we succeed in understanding this complete descent can we understand the salvation which this mystery of love offers us."

“A Christ without a cross is not the Lord: he is a teacher, nothing else. This is perhaps what Nicodemus, without realizing it, was seeking. It is one of the temptations. Yes, Jesus: ‘What a good teacher’, but… without the cross, [only] Jesus. Who bewitched you with this image? Paul is angry. Jesus Christ is presented but not as crucified. The other temptation is a cross without Christ, that is, the anguish of remaining down, depressed by the weight of sin and without hope. This is a type of spiritual masochism: only the cross, without hope and without Christ.”

“The Cross is a mystery of love; the Cross is faithful; the Cross is noble. Today we should take a minute to ask ourselves these questions. Is Christ crucified a mystery of love? Do I follow Jesus without a cross: a spiritual teacher who fills me with consolation and good counsel? Do I follow a cross without Jesus, without complaining, with this masochism of the spirit? Do I let myself be carried by this mystery of lowering, that is, of total emptying and lifting up of the Lord?”