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Choosing salvation in the inner struggle between good and evil

Friday, 25 October 2019



During his homily for Holy Mass at Santa Marta on Friday morning, 25 October, Pope Francis urged the faithful to ask God for the “light” to know what is happening within us. Commenting on the day’s Bible passage from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he spoke of the continuous inner struggle the Apostle faced among the people, the difficulty between the desire to do good and the inability to do so, pointing out that “even saints feel this inner struggle within themselves”. “It is a struggle between good and evil — but not an abstract good and an abstract evil: between the good that the Holy Spirit inspires us to do and the evil that the evil spirit inspires us to do”. It is a struggle that is within us all and if some say they do not feel this, then they “are anaesthetized and do not understand what is happening”.

The Holy Father’s attention then turned to the martyrs who had “to fight to the end in order to preserve their faith” as well as saints like Saint Therese of the Child Jesus whose “hardest struggle was her final moment” because she felt that an “evil spirit” wanted to take her away from the Lord.

Pope Francis then reflected on the day’s reading from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus tells the crowds, and at the same time all of us: “you know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”. Pope Francis asked the faithful whether, as they went about their busy schedules, they asked themselves who was leading them, who inspired them to do things. Our life “is like life on the street”; we only notice what interests us. The struggle, Francis explained, “is always between grace and sin, between the Lord who wants to save us and pull us away from this temptation and the evil spirit who always throws us down” in order to defeat us. The Pope invited Christians to ask themselves if the decisions they take are from the Lord or if they are dictated by selfishness, by the devil. “It is important to recognize what is happening within ourselves”, and not to allow our souls to become like a road for everyone to trample on. And to help with this, he recommended setting aside two to three minutes before the end of the day to ask ourselves if anything important had happened within us that day: one might find some hatred, some gossip, some charity, and to reflect on who inspired them. These questions will help us figure out what is occurring within us. Sometimes, the Pope concluded “we know what is happening in the neighbourhood, in our neighbour’s home but we do not know what is happening within us”.

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