According to the Pontiff, we must flee from the idolatrous temptation that leads one to seek Him only for “one’s own use and consumption”, and once satisfied, “we forget about Him”.
Newsroom (02/08/2021 20:15, Gaudium Press) Last Sunday, August 1, during the traditional recitation of the Marian prayer of the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis warned Catholics against the danger of a selfish faith, which seeks God only to receive miracles and favours in return.
The Holy Father stressed that in order to live a relationship of true love with God, we must question ourselves on the reasons why we seek Him, thus fleeing from the idolatrous temptation that leads one to seek Him only for “one’s own use and consumption,” and once satisfied, “we forget about Him.”
Urging the faithful to seek a relationship with God that “goes beyond the logic of interest and calculation”, that is, to have a relationship of love with Him, the Pontiff also commented that the people who witnessed the multiplication of the loaves did not understand the meaning of the gesture, “they restricted themselves to the external miracle and the material bread”.
Temptation to seek God only for our own use and consumption
He then encouraged us to ask ourselves “Why do we seek the Lord? What are the motivations of our faith?” According to Pope Francis, “we need to discern this, because among the many temptations we have in life, there is one that we could call an idolatrous temptation, which leads us to seek God for our own use and consumption, to solve problems, to obtain, thanks to Him, what we cannot obtain on our own, out of interest.”
In this way, the Pope noted, our Faith remains superficial and miraculous, “we seek God to satisfy our hunger and then when we are satisfied we forget Him”. He explained that “at the centre of this immature Faith there is no God, there is our needs.
However, the Pontiff emphasized that “it is right to present our needs to God’s heart, but the Lord, who acts far beyond our expectations, desires to live with us above all a relationship of love. And true love is disinterested, it is gratuitous: one does not love in order to receive a favour in return. That is self-interest, and so often in life we are self-interested!
How can we purify our search for God?
A second question posed by the Pope must have crossed the minds of many of the faithful: “How can we purify our search for God? How can we pass from a magical Faith, which only thinks of our own needs, to a Faith that pleases God?” The answer comes from Jesus himself when he states that “the work of God is to welcome the One whom the Father sent, that is, Himself, Jesus.”
“It is not adding religious practices or observing special precepts; it is welcoming Jesus, welcoming Him into life, living a love story with Him. It is He who will purify our Faith. We cannot do it alone. But the Lord wants a relationship of love with us: before the things we receive and do, there is Him to be loved. There is a relationship with Him that goes beyond the logic of interest and calculation,” he taught.
The Pope stressed that this holds true not only in relation to God, but also in our human and social relationships. “When we seek above all the satisfaction of our needs, we run the risk of using people and of manipulating situations for our own ends. A society that puts interests at the centre rather than people is a society that does not generate life. The invitation of the Gospel is this: instead of being concerned only with the material bread that feeds us, let us welcome Jesus as the bread of life and, from friendship with him, learn to love one another,” he concluded. (EPC)