Pope Francis says "...to live the encounter with him and to be transformed by prayer, to elevate ourselves to God, we need the second movement..." FULL TEXT + Video

St. Peter's Square
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of today's Liturgy presents us a parable that has two protagonists, a Pharisee and a tax collector (cf. Lk 18: 9-14), that is, a religious man and a full-blown sinner. Both go up to the temple to pray, but only the tax collector truly rises to God, because with humility he descends into the truth of himself and presents himself as he is, without masks, with his poverty. We could say, then, that the parable is between two movements, expressed by two verbs: to go up and down.

The first movement is to go up. In fact, the text begins by saying: "Two men went up to the temple to pray" (v. 10). This aspect recalls many episodes of the Bible, where to meet the Lord one climbs towards the mountain of his presence: Abraham goes up the mountain to offer the sacrifice; Moses goes up to Sinai to receive the commandments; Jesus goes up the mountain, where he is transfigured. Climbing, therefore, expresses the heart's need to break away from a flat life to go out to meet the Lord; to rise from the plains of our ego to ascend towards God - to get rid of one's ego -; to collect what we live in the valley to bring it before the Lord. This is "going up", and when we pray we go up.
But to live the encounter with him and to be transformed by prayer, to elevate ourselves to God, we need the second movement: to descend. How come? What does this mean? To ascend towards him we must descend within ourselves: cultivate sincerity and humility of heart, which give us an honest look at our inner frailties and poverty. In fact, in humility we become capable of bringing to God, without fictions, what we really are, the limits and wounds, the sins, the miseries that weigh down our hearts, and to invoke his mercy to heal us, heal us. , you raise us up. He will be the one to raise us up, not us. The more we descend with humility, the more God makes us rise up.
In fact, the tax collector in the parable humbly stops at a distance (cf. v. 13) - he does not come near, he is ashamed -, he asks for forgiveness, and the Lord raises him up. Instead, the Pharisee is exalted, sure of himself, convinced that he is right: standing up, he begins to speak to the Lord only about himself, to praise himself, to list all the good religious works he does, and he despises others: " they are like that one there… ”. Why does spiritual pride do this - "But Father, why do you speak to us about spiritual pride?". Because we all risk falling into this -. It leads you to believe yourself well and to judge others. This is spiritual pride: "I am well, I am better than others: this is such a thing, that is such another ...". And so, without realizing it, you adore your self and cancel your God. It is a revolving around oneself. This is prayer without humility.
Brothers, sisters, the Pharisee and the tax collector concern us closely. Thinking of them, we look at ourselves: we verify whether in us, as in the Pharisee, there is "the intimate presumption of being righteous" (v. 9) that leads us to despise others. It happens, for example, when we look for compliments and always make a list of our merits and our good works, when we worry about appearing rather than being, when we allow ourselves to be trapped by narcissism and exhibitionism. We watch over narcissism and exhibitionism, based on vainglory, which lead us Christians, we priests, we bishops to always have a word on our lips, what word? "I": "I did this, I wrote this, I said it, I understood it before you", and so on. Where there is too much I, there is little God. Here, in my land, these people are called "me-with me-for me-only me", this is the name of those people. And once there was talk of a priest who was like this, centered in himself, and people jokingly said: "That, when he does the incensing, he does it backwards, he incenses himself". That's right, it also makes you fall into ridicule.
We ask for the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the humble servant of the Lord, a living image of what the Lord loves to do, overthrowing the mighty from their thrones and raising the humble (cf. Lk 1,52).
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
World Mission Day is celebrated today, which has as its theme "You will be witnesses of me". It is an important occasion to awaken in all the baptized the desire to participate in the universal mission of the Church, through witness and the proclamation of the Gospel. I encourage everyone to support the missionaries with prayer and concrete solidarity, so that they can continue the work of evangelization and human promotion throughout the world.
Registration opens today for the World Youth Day which will take place in Lisbon in August 2023. I invited two young Portuguese to be here with me while I also register as a pilgrim. I'll do it now… (click on the tablet). Here, I signed up. You, have you signed up? Do it ... And you signed up? Do it ... Here, stay here. Dear young people, I invite you to join this meeting in which, after a long period of being away, we will rediscover the joy of the fraternal embrace between peoples and generations, which we so much need!
Yesterday, in Madrid, Vincenzo Nicasio Renuncio Toribio and eleven companions of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer were beatified, killed in hatred of the faith in 1936, in Spain. The example of these witnesses of Christ, even to the shedding of blood, push us to be consistent and courageous; their intercession sustain those who are struggling today to sow the Gospel in the world. A round of applause to the new Blesseds!
With trepidation I am following the persistent conflict situation in Ethiopia. Once again I repeat with heartfelt that violence does not resolve discords, but only increases their tragic consequences. I appeal to those who have political responsibilities, so that the suffering of the defenseless population ceases and that equitable solutions are found for lasting peace throughout the country. May the efforts of the parties for dialogue and the search for the common good lead to a concrete path of reconciliation. May the Ethiopian brothers and sisters, so severely tried, not lack our prayers, our solidarity and the necessary humanitarian aid.
I am saddened by the floods which are affecting various African countries and which have caused death and destruction. I pray for the victims and I am close to the millions of displaced people, and I look forward to a greater joint effort to prevent these calamities.
And I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various countries. In particular, I greet the Indonesian clerics and religious residing in Rome; the Peruvian community that celebrates the feast of the Señor de los Milagros; the Centro Academico Romano Fundación and the group of the Polish diocese of Tarnow. I greet the faithful of San Donà di Piave, Padua, Pontedera and Molfetta; the confirmation boys from Piacenza, the “Tiberiade” group from Carrobbio degli Angeli and the Nonviolent Movement of Verona. And today, at the beginning of a new government, we pray for the unity and peace of Italy.
The day after tomorrow, Tuesday 25 October, I will go to the Colosseum to pray for peace in Ukraine and in the world, together with the representatives of the Christian Churches and Communities and of world religions, gathered in Rome for the meeting "The cry of peace". I invite you to join spiritually in this great invocation to God: prayer is the power of peace. Let us pray, let us continue to pray for Ukraine so tormented.
I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!