When ever I find something which is thought provoking, I love to share it. When I came across an article entitled “7 Things to Abstain From, According to Pope Francis”, I knew it would be perfect to share! I have seen other things written by him about what we should abstain from, but I found these even MORE challenging.
I’ll give you a glimpse, and you can read the full article online:
ABSTAIN FROM AVOIDING GOD: “Lent is indeed the favorable time to return to what is essential, to divest ourselves of all that weighs us down, to be reconciled with God, and to rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit hidden beneath the ashes of our humanity.” (Pope Francis, Ash Wednesday 2023)
ABSTAIN FROM SPIRITUAL ARROGANCE: “Spiritual Arrogance, that makes us put ourselves before others and before God. It stops us from going toward others: Where there is too much I, there is too little God.” (Pope Francis, October 2022)
ABSTAIN FROM DIGITAL MEDIA PLATFORMS: “Lent is the perfect time for resisting the temptation of digital media, ‘which impoverishes human relationships.’ The Pope encouraged ‘authentic encounters face-to-face.’ Media is good but needs to be used wisely.” (Pope Francis, Lent 2022)
ABSTAIN FROM POLARIZATIONS AND DIVISIONS: It is easy to get caught up in the debates and divisions that affect society daily. However, Pope Francis “calls Catholics to be ‘not either – or’ but ‘both and’, combining differences. When there is polarization, a divisive mentality arises, which privileges some and leaves others behind.” (America Magazine, November 2022)
ABSTAIN FROM BEING INDIFFERENT TO OTHERS: “Pope Francis often condemns ‘throwaway culture’ and calls for the dignity of EVERY human being. Lent is a favorable time for showing concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the one human family.” (Pope Francis, Lent 2015)
ABSTAIN FROM UNNECESSARY NOISE: Pope Francis emphasized the importance of silence in a general audience on December 15, 2021, as he was doing a catechesis on St. Joseph. “With his silence, Joseph invites us to leave room for the Word made flesh, for Jesus, explaining how the gospels do not contain a single word uttered by Mary’s husband.”
ABSTAIN FROM NARCISSISM, VICTIMHOOD, AND PESSIMISM: “Narcissism makes us idolize ourselves, to be concerned only with what is good for us. Victims complain everyday about their neighbor…The Pessimist gets angry with the world but sits back and does nothing.” (Pope Francis, Pentecost 2020)
Some really rich yet difficult concepts to reflect on. Do any of these tug at my heart? Do I need to look at one of these even more closely? What is this list saying to me, truthfully?
Remember: you can’t kid a kidder. What is God asking of you this Lent? Perhaps this reflection may call something to mind and heart.
Till next week,