Pope Francis warned that Satan “always wavers doubts to division and exclusion” and explained that closing in within the Church is also the result of the temptation of the evil one.
This closure leads to “Christian communities making places of separation, not communion. The Holy Spirit does not want to conclude. He wants to open up and welcome communities where there is room for all.”
This was alluded to while meditating before the angel’s prayer where he commented on the biblical scene where the disciples prevented a man from casting out demons in the name of Jesus.
The Lord rebuked them and called them “not to hinder those who work for good, because they contribute to the implementation of God’s plan.” He also warned them that “instead of dividing people into good and evil, we are all called to watch our hearts so that we do not succumb to evil and give scandal to others.”
The disciples wanted to prevent the good work just because the person who did it didn’t belong to their group. They believe that they have the “exclusiveness of Jesus” and that they are the only ones authorized to work for the kingdom of God.
This is the temptation to shut down: “And so they end up feeling benevolent and considered to others as strangers, until they become hostile to them. Every closure, in fact, makes people who don’t think like us have a distance.”
For this reason, “it is necessary to observe the closure also in the church.” The devil “is tempted by cunning, and such disciples that exclude even those who expelled the devil himself can happen!”
“Sometimes we also, instead of being a humble and open society, can give the impression that we are ‘first in class’ and have others at a distance; instead of trying to walk with everyone else, we can display the ‘believer’s card’ of judgment and exclusion.
The Pope encouraged us to ask for “the grace of overcoming the temptation to rule and indexing, and that God save us from the ‘nest’ mentality, the mentality of our zealously guarding in a small group of those who consider themselves righteous: the priest with the faithful, the pastoral workers closed between them so that no one might infiltrate, the movements and the associations in their own talent, etcetera.”
The risk, Pope Francis concluded, “is to be inflexible toward others and tolerant toward ourselves.”
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