Pope Francis on discernment: To escape toxic thoughts, reread your life story

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19/10/2022
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Pope Francis paused his General Audience to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. 

POPE FRANCIS
Let us pray for an end to the terrible things that are happening there: the tortures, the deaths, the destruction.

Just prior, the Pope continued his catechsis series on discernment. He said that in order to discern well, it is essential to reread one's own life story.

In particular, he said one should indentify which aspects of one's life have brought pain, and which have brought peace. 

POPE FRANCIS
Many times we have had the experience of Augustine, of finding ourselves imprisoned by thoughts that distance us from ourselves, stereotypical messages that do us harm. For example: “I am not worth anything,” and so you become sad.

Accustoming yourself to rereading your life. This educates your gaze, refines it, and allows you not to lose sight of the small miracles that the kind God accomplishes in us every day.

The Pope recalled that this practice was essential to Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It helped him to recognize his virtues and understand that God had never abandoned him, which stopped him from being carried away by destructive thoughts. 

That's why Pope Francis recommended making an examination of conscience every night. 

POPE FRANCIS
Let us ask ourselves at the end of the day: What has happened today in my heart? Some think that making this examination of conscience is to keep track of the sins one has committed, and we have many, but no. What has happened inside me? Was I joyful? What provoked me? Was I sad? What led me to that sadness? And so we learn to discern what is happening within us.

The Pope continued to say that who does not know their own past well is doomed to repeat it, and that calmly rereading the story of one's life is a way out of toxic thoughts that can be harmful to one's spirituality. 

JRB

TR: JM

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