Francis Begins a New Cycle of Catechesis on Discernment

 Pope Francis to the general audience: “Knowing what is good for me here and now requires a filial relationship with God.” 

Newsroom (31/08/2022 9:00 PM Gaudium Press) In his words to Polish pilgrims on the anniversary of the start of World War II, the invitation to continue praying for peace in Ukraine. On the eve of the World Day of Creation, the appeal is not to leave “the common home at the mercy of consumerist excesses” and to pray that at Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, the human family will unite to tackle the climate crisis.

“Discernment is laborious but indispensable for living. It requires that I know myself, that I know what is good for me here and now. It requires above all a filial relationship with God,” said Pope Francis this morning at the general audience. It was held as usual in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican and opened a new cycle of catechesis dedicated to the theme of discernment.

Commenting on some parables from Matthew’s Gospel on the meaning of this dimension of life (Mt 13:44, 47-48), the Pontiff explained that “discernment presents itself as an exercise of intelligence, of skill and also of will, to seize the favourable moment.” Still, there is also “a cost required for it to become operative.” The fisherman, the pearl merchant, and the man who stumbles upon a treasure come to terms with “unexpected, unplanned situations, where it is essential to recognize the importance and urgency of a decision to be made.”

Francis continued that in the Gospel, discernment is inseparable from the joy of those who have encountered Jesus. But “we do not find already packaged before us the life we are to live. God invites us to evaluate and choose: he has created us free and wants us to exercise our freedom.”

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He went on to note that for this reason, “discernment is demanding,” and it has happened to all of us to “choose something that seemed good to us and instead was not.’

“Discernment is tiring,” the pope concluded, “but indispensable for living. God is Father and does not leave us alone; he is always willing to advise us, to encourage us, to welcome us. But he never imposes his will. Why? Because he wants to be loved and not feared.”

In his greetings to the faithful, addressing Polish pilgrims, Pope Francis then recalled the anniversary of the start of World War II, which falls tomorrow. Asking everyone to pray for peace in Ukraine, he hoped that ‘the memory of past experiences will spur people to cultivate peace in themselves, their families, in social and international life.

Lastly – recalling the Day of Creation that the Church celebrates tomorrow and opens a time dedicated to this theme that will continue until the feast of St. Francis (4 October) – the Pontiff hoped that these events might “foster in everyone the concrete commitment to take care of our common home at the mercy of our consumerist excesses. Sister Mother Earth,” he added, “groans and begs us to stop our abuses and her destruction.” Hence the invitation to pray that the next international summit to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November “may unite the human family to address the twin crises of climate and the reduction of biodiversity.”

– Raju Hasmukh


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