"These people wander through life like existential tourists, without a goal and without taking God’s promises seriously. But those who wander around are lying to themselves, because they say 'Yes, I walk.' But no, you don't walk, you just wander...'Simply wanderers..but the Lord tells us to keep going. He tells us to take the right path and to not wander around aimlessly.”
- Pope Francis
You can read the Rome Reports version or the Vatican Radio version in which the Holy Father's fascinating homily is not quoted even once. Why is our Holy Father so unquotable?
Just for a moment there, I thought the Pope had given up insults for Lent. I haven't given up documenting them. The interesting thing of course is that St Francis of Assisi and his mendicant friars spent a great deal of time, keeping the commandments and wandering around urging people to love God, repent and keep the commandments. I understand that it is really important that we never lose sight of our status as sinners, to recognise our sins and to repent of them, to overcome them with the power of God's grace through prayer and the Sacraments, but I thought that keeping the commandments were, for Jesus Christ, important too. After all, it was He who said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."
Is His Holiness suggesting that to try to keep the commandments with God's grace is an impediment to the Christian life? Rome Reports summarises the Pope's words as following, without giving us the actual words...
But there are many Christians whose hope is weak and while they believe and follow the commandments, they have come to a standstill in their spiritual lives.
And I don't doubt that I, a sinner, am one of them. God knows I'm not St John of the Cross, neither do I consider myself to be flying up the spiritual ladder this Lent. That said, breaking the Ten Commandments would, I would posit, be bad...right? No Pope would want to encourage that.
Is this another encouragement to us all to go to Confession? I do worry slightly that, while no description of God can tell the full story, we are receiving a two, or even one dimensional vision of God from His Holiness that doesn't do justice to Him. God is Merciful, but also Just. God is Loving but is also Truth. We can't be 'pastry shop Christians' and say God is only Merciful to everyone but the mafia.
Who is His Holiness thinking of here? How can someone so non-judgmental see into the hearts of so many Christian existential tourists? Has His Holiness the gift of reading souls en masse? Someone help me out here. In the mind of His Holiness there seem to be so many, many Christians who are like this or like that and they are bad Christians. It must be so wonderful, Your Holiness, not to be like them...sorry...me.