In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis explained that the Christian life is an ongoing struggle against temptations that can lead a person down the wrong path.
'Let's think about our heart: Do I feel this struggle in my heart? Between comfort and service to others, between other fun things or praying and worshiping the Father. Do I feel the struggle between one thing and another? The desire to do good or something that stops me; am I a skeptic? I believe that my life moves the heart of Jesus? If I do not believe this, I have to pray a lot to believe it, to receive this grace.â?
To answer these questions the pope invited each person to examine his or her own heart and ask God for the wisdom to discern and make a right choice.
EXTRACTS FROM PAPAL HOMILY
'Was this crowd going to see Jesus? Yes! Did they have needs? Yes! Some were curious, but these were the skeptics, the minority ... But this crowd was attracted by the Father: it was the Father who attracted people to Jesus. To the point that Jesus did not remain indifferent. Was He like a static teacher who spoke His words and then washed His hands? No! This crowd touched the heart of Jesus. The same Gospel tells us: 'Jesus was moved because he saw these people as sheep without a shepherd.' And the Father, through the Holy Spirit, drew people to Jesus. '
'This is the truth; this is the reality that each of us feels when approaching Jesus. The unclean spirits try to prevent it, waging war against us. 'But, Father, I'm very Catholic; I always go to Mass... but I never, never have these temptations. Thank God, no!' 'Pray, because you're on the wrong path!' A Christian life without temptation is not a Christian: he is ideological, he is Gnostic, but he is not Christian. When the Father draws people to Jesus, there is another who is attracting on the contrary and wages war! This is why Paul speaks of the Christian life as a struggle: a struggle everyday. A fight!'
'Let's think about our heart: Do I feel this struggle in my heart? Between comfort and service to others, between other fun things or praying and worshiping the Father. Do I feel the struggle between one thing and another? The desire to do good or something that stops me; do I have self-discipline? I believe that my life moves the heart of Jesus? If I do not believe this, I have to pray a lot to believe it, to receive this grace. Each of us look in our heart to see the situation there. We ask the Lord to be Christians who are able to discern what happens in our own heart and choose the right path on which the Father draws us to Jesus.'
'He came to destroy its influence in our hearts. So while the Father is attracting you to Jesus, the spirit of evil is seeking to destroy that attraction. May the Lord give us the grace to know how to discern what is going on in our hearts and to choose the right path upon which the Father draws us to Jesus.â?