Pope Francis on how rivalry and vainglory weaken us

November 7, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

divided churchVatican, November 7, 2014: Rivalry and vainglory are two worms that weaken the Church. We should instead act in a spirit of humility and harmony, without seeking our own interests, Pope Francis told a congregation at Casa Santa Marta on Monday.

Taking a cue from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians, the Pope noted that a bishop’s joy lies in seeing love, unity and harmony in his Church. “This harmony – he said – is a grace, which the Holy Spirit creates, but we must do our part, we must do everything to help the Holy Spirit to create this harmony in the Church”.

This is why St Paul calls the Philippians to do nothing “out of selfishness or out of vainglory” or “fight against each other, just to be seen, to give themselves the air of being better than others.

“You see,” the Pope noted “this is not just something new to today”, but “goes way back.”

“And how often in our institutions, in the Church, in the parish, for example, in schools, do we find that, no?

“Rivalry; the need to be seen; vainglory. We see that there are two worms that eat the fabric of the Church, weakening her. Rivalry and vainglory go against this harmony, this agreement.

“Instead of rivalry and vainglory, what does Paul recommend? ‘Rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.’

“He felt this himself. He qualifies himself as ‘not worthy to be called an apostle,’ the least [among others]. He even strongly humbles himself there. This was his sentiment: He thought others were superior to him.”

Pope Francis then quoted St Martin de Porres, a “humble Dominican friar,” saying: “His spirituality was in service, because he felt that all the others, even the greatest sinners, were superior to him. He really felt this.”

St Paul then urges everyone not to look out for his own interests:  “Look for the good of others. Serving others. But this is the joy of a bishop, when he sees his Church like this: the same sentiment, the same charity, being in unanimous accord. This is the air that Jesus wants in the Church. You can have a different opinion, that’s fine, but always within this air, this atmosphere: humility, charity, without despising anyone”.

– vatican radio

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