Pope: During confession do not tell your sins as if they were a grocery list

Pope: During confession do not tell your sins as if they were a grocery list

By Domenico Agasso jr/ Vatican City

Francis at Santa Marta: Do not ’whitewash’ your own faults; acknowledge the shame of being “clay and not silver or gold vessels.” It will make you “happy”

We must recognize our weaknesses. This is Pope Francis’ invitation, launched during the homily at Santa Marta this morning, June 17, 2017. Pope Francis spoke about confession when “we tell or sins as if they were a grocery list”, a way to “whitewash the clay” in order to appear stronger. Rather, the Pope said, we must accept our weakness and vulnerability, even if it is “difficult” to do so. Hence the importance of “shame”, as Vatican Radio reports.

No one can “save themselves”; we all need “the power of God.” Francis meditates on the second Letter to the Corinthians - in which St. Paul reflects on the mystery of Christ, saying, “We have a treasure made of clay vessels” - and exhorts faithful to take “conscience” of being “clay, weak, sinners”. In short, without the power of the Lord, one does not go forward. The treasure of Christ is “in our fragility: we are clay,” for it is “the power of God, the power of God that saves, heals and supports us.” And all this, in the end, is “the reality of our vulnerability. All of us are vulnerable, fragile, weak, us who need to be healed” And he adds. “We are troubled, we are upset, we are persecuted, we are week thus struck down by the weakness of Paul, the manifestation of the clay. This is our vulnerability.”

One of the “most difficult things in life is to recognize this vulnerability. At times, we try to cover this vulnerability, to hide it, or disguise it so it does not show… Paul himself, at the beginning of this chapter, says, “When I fall in shameful disguises.” Disguises are shameful, always. They are hypocrites.”

And besides being “hypocrites with others,” there is also that of being “hypocrites with ourselves”, that is, believing” to be something else”, believing “to have no need for healing and support”. In short, when we believe that we are “not clay,” and we think we have “our own treasure”. This, the Pope pointed out, is the path to vanity, pride and self-reference of those who do not feel themselves made of clay and thus seek salvation and fulfillment in themselves. But “it is the power of God that saves us - emphasizes the Pope - because Paul recognizes our vulnerability,” We are troubled but not crushed.” Not crushed, because the power of God saves us. “We are upset,” he acknowledges, “but not desperate.” There is something within God that gives us hope. We are persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not killed.”

There is always this relationship between clay and power, clay and treasure. We have a treasure in clay vessels. But the temptation is always the same: to cover, conceal, and not believe that we are clay “, This is, “hypocrisy towards ourselves”. Saint Paul says “thinking, reasoning, preaching the Word of God” leads to a dialogue “between the treasure and the clay,” a dialogue that needs to be nourished continually in order to be honest”.

The Bishop of Rome spoke about confession when “we list our sins as if they were a grocery list”, trying to “whitewash the clay” in order to appear stronger, more beautiful and better”. Instead, we must accept our weakness and vulnerability, even if it is “difficult” to do so. Hence the importance of “shame”. Because it is shame that broadens the heart and lets the power of God in. The shame of being clay and not being a silver or gold vase. To be clay. And if we acknowledge this, we will be happy. We will be very happy.”

On the relationship between “the power of God and clay”, let us think of the lavender of the feet, when Jesus approaches Peter and Peter says,” No, no, Lord, please! What are you doing?” St. Paul did not understand he was clay that needed the power of the Lord to be saved. “ It is vital, then, to have “generosity” to acknowledge “our being vulnerable, fragile, weak, sinners”: only if one welcomes and accepts the state of “being clay” the “extraordinary power of God will come to us and give us the fulfillment, salvation, happiness and joy of being saved.” And thus receive the treasure of God.

Sat, 06/17/2017 - 00:01
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