MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
The temptation to gossip
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n.
16, 17 April 2013)
The temptation to gossip about others and batter them them with
words is always just round the corner. These “are daily temptations, enemies of
gentleness” which “confront us all and me too”. Pope Francis put the faithful on
guard against them at Mass on Tuesday morning, 9 April, in the Chapel of the
Domus Sanctae Marthae, and pointed to the way of gentleness.
Concelebrating were Mons. Luigi MistÚ, Secretary of the
Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and President of the
Council of the Fondo Assistenza Sanitaria (FAS), which provides Health-Care
Assistance for Vatican employees, and Mons. Paolo Nicolini, Delegate for the
Administrative-Management Sectors of the Vatican Museums, on the 25th
anniversary of his priestly ordination. Taking part were Giovanni Amici,
Director of General Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Paolo
Sagretti, on the staff of the Floreria, with representatives of the goods
transport and delivery services and members of the Administrative Council of
“We asked the Lord”, the Pope said in his homily, “to show the
world the fullness of new life”. After Jesus’ Resurrection a new life begins: as
Jesus told Nicodemus, who, Pope Francis explained, “a little earlier had
answered Jesus: ‘but how can a man be born again, return to his mother’s womb
and be born anew?’. Jesus was speaking of another dimension: ‘to be born from on
high’, to be born of the Spirit” the Pope said. “It is the new life we received
in Baptism but which we must develop”.
“We must do our utmost to ensure that this life develops into
new life” the Pope said. And what will this new life be like? It is not that we
say today: ‘Yes, I was born today, that’s that, I am starting again’. It is a
journey, an arduous journey we must toil to achieve. Yet it does not only depend
on us: it depends mainly on the Spirit and we must open ourselves to the Spirit
so that he creates this new life within us”.
“In the First Reading”, Pope Francis said, “we have as it were a
foretaste, a preview of what ‘new life’ will and should be like. The multitude
of those who had become believers were of one heart and one soul: that unity,
unanimity and harmony of feelings of love, mutual love, thinking “others are
better than me”, and this is lovely isn’t it?”.
But this does not happen automatically after Baptism. It must be
brought about within us, “on the journey through life by the Spirit”. “This
gentleness is a somewhat forgotten virtue: being gentle, making room for others.
There are so many enemies of gentleness, aren’t there? Starting with gossip.
When people prefer to tell tales, to gossip about others, to give others a few
blows. These are daily events that happen to everyone, and to me too”. “They are
temptations of the Evil One”, he continued, “who does not want the Spirit to
create this gentleness, in Christian communities. In the parish the ladies of
catechesis quarrel with the ladies of Caritas”. These conflicts always exist, in
the family, in the neighbourhood, even among friends. And this is not new life.
When the Spirit causes us to be born to new life, he makes us gentle and kind,
not judgmental: the only Judge is the Lord”. The proposal to be silent fits in
here. “If I have something to say, let me say it to the individual, not to the
entire neighbourhood; only to the one who can remedy the situation”.
“This”, Pope Francis concluded, “is only one step. If, with the
grace of the Spirit, we succeed in never gossiping, it will be a great and
beautiful step ahead and will do everyone good. Let us ask the Lord to show us
and the world the beauty and fullness of this new life, of being born of the
Spirit, of treating each other with kindness, with respect. Let us ask for this
grace for us all.