Pope: Tolerating each other’s flaws fights devil’s attempts to divide
In a file photo, Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the chapel of his Vatican residence at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. (Credit: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano.)
ROME — Humility, kindness and generosity are needed to create peace in the world, starting in one’s own family, Pope Francis said.
“To create peace, unity among us (it takes) humility, gentleness - we who are used to insulting each other, yelling at each other - gentleness, and magnanimity,” he said Oct. 26 during morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“But can you really make peace in the world with these three little things? Yes, it is the journey. Can you reach unity? Yes, that (is) the journey: humility, gentleness and magnanimity,” he said.
The pope’s homily reflected on the day’s first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (4:1-6). The imprisoned apostle was calling for unity among Christians, who were “too caught up with their infighting,” the pope said.
Even world bodies set up to create peace have their efforts stymied by “a veto here, a special interest there, and they struggle finding a peace accord,” he said. “And in the meantime, children have nothing to eat, they don’t go to school, they’re not educated, there are no hospitals because war destroys everything.”
This tendency to destroy, create war and divide people, the pope said, is sown in people’s hearts by the devil, “the destroyer of humanity.”
But, he said, as St. Paul teaches, the bond of peace creates and preserves unity. The apostle calls on Christians to live “in a manner worthy of the call you have received with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love.”
“Bearing with one another is not easy. Always some judgment, condemnation comes out, leading to separation, distance,” Francis said.
“The devil is happy” when he is able to alienate family members, the pope said, so the apostle’s advice is to bear with each other because everyone is a sinner and has flaws which can bother others and make them impatient.
“Jesus’ advice is to find agreement in the beginning, make peace right away” before problems escalate, he said. “This is humility, gentleness, this is magnanimity.”