Pope in Santa Marta: God's graces cannot be bought
In his daily homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on a Christian's relationship with God. He stressed the need to serve one another, as God does for each person.
“In our spiritual life, we always run the risk of slipping up on the question of payment, even when speaking with the Lord. As if we needed to bribe the Lord. No! It is not like that. It doesn't work that way. 'Lord, if you do this for me, I will give you this.' I make this promise, but this expands my heart to receive what is already there, waiting for me, free of charge. This relationship of gratefulness with God is what will help us have the same rapport with others.”
He also warned Christians not to use others and give freely, instead of making 'money off God's graces.'
EXTRACTS FROM POPE'S HOMILY
“Christian life is for service. It saddens us to find Christians who at the beginning of their conversion, or awareness of being Christian, serve and are open to serve the people of God, but who later end up making use of the people of God. This causes much harm to God’s people. Our vocation is to ‘serve’, not to ‘make use of’.”
“Realize that the Lord is full of gifts for us. He asks just one thing: that our hearts be open. When we say ‘Our Father’ and we pray, we open our heart, allowing this gratuitousness to enter. Often when we need some spiritual grace, we say: ‘Well, now I will fast, do penance, pray a novena…’ Fine, but be careful: this is not done to ‘pay’ or ‘buy’ grace. We do it to open our hearts so that grace might enter. Grace is freely given.”
“In our spiritual life we always run the risk of slipping up on the question of payment, even when speaking with the Lord, as if we needed to bribe the Lord. No! That is not the correct path… I make a promise, in order to expand my heart to receive what is already there, waiting for us free of charge. This relationship of gratuitousness with God is what will help us to have the same rapport with others, whether it be in Christian witness, Christian service, or the pastoral work of those who guide the people of God. We do so along the way. Christian life means walking. Preach and serve, but do not make use of others. Serve and give freely that which you have received freely. May our life of holiness be permeated by this openness of heart, so that the gratuitousness of God – the graces that He wishes to give us without cost – may enter our hearts.”