Pope Francis stresses the importance of being vigilant in the spiritual life

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During his General Audience, Pope Francis began the final phase of his catechesis on discernment. He explained that being vigilant is an important step in this process.

The Pope warned against devils who can disguise themselves and encouraged the faithful to guard their hearts against these temptations. He also spoke about the importance of not being overconfident, which can lead a person to be caught unaware.


Dear brothers and sisters:

In our catechesis on discernment, we have considered its various elements, including prayer, self-knowledge, spiritual experience and the signs assuring us of the rightness of our decisions. A fundamental attitude that must guide the entire process of discernment, however, is that of vigilance. Jesus often warns his disciples of the need to be watchful, lest the enemy take advantage of our distraction and bring our good efforts to nought. The Lord gives the example of an unclean spirit who, chased from a house, returns to find it clean but empty, since its owner is absent, and then comes back with seven of his companions. Like that owner, we too can fail to guard our house and keep our hearts pure as a dwelling for the Lord.

When we trust excessively in ourselves and not in the Lord’s grace, our presumption can open a door to the evil one and can find ourselves “worse than before.” In our exercise of discernment, may we always remain vigilant, for vigilance is a sign of spiritual wisdom and of the humility that is at the heart of the Christian life.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from the United States of America and from the Australian Catholic University. I pray that each of you, and your families, may experience a blessed Advent in preparation for the coming, at Christmas, of the newborn Jesus, Son of God and Savior of the world. God bless you!

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