In the face of corruption, violence, and atrocities against the human person, resignation becomes the “devil's favorite weapon,” Pope Francis told priests, religious, and seminarians on the fourth day of his journey to Mexico. “What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability?” the Pope asked.
Centering his homily on the day's Gospel account of Jesus teaching his disciples the Our Father, the pontiff reflected on the line, “Lead us not into temptation,” and decried the temptation toward resignation.
“What temptation might we suffer over and over again when faced with this reality which seems to have become a permanent system?”
“Faced with this reality, the devil can overcome us with one of his favorite weapons: resignation,” the Pope said, explaining that resignation provokes fear, entrenches us in “false securities,” and prevents us from enacting change.
Pope Francis made these remarks during Mass in the city of Morelia, a central Mexican city rife with violence and corruption.
He stressed the importance of learning from the past in confronting temptation.
“How good it is for us to tap into our memories when we are tempted,” the pontiff reflected. “How much it helps us to look at the “stuff” of which we are made.”
“It did not all begin with us, nor will it all end with us, and so it does us good to look back at our past experiences which have brought us to where we are today.”
Pope Francis' visit to Mexico's Michoacán State comes on the second to last day of his Feb. 12-17 trip to Mexico, his first since his election to the papacy.
Throughout his homily, the Pope stressed the balance between prayer and the way we live our lives.
“For our life speaks of prayer and prayer speaks of our life,” he said; “our life speaks through our prayer and our prayer speaks through our life.”
Praying is something to be learned, the Pope explained. “The school of prayer is the school of life and in the school of life we progress in the school of prayer.”
Jesus sought to introduce his companions “into the mystery of His Life,” he said. “He showed them by eating, sleeping, curing, preaching and praying, what it means to be Son of God.”
Inviting his companions into “his interiority,” Jesus introduced them to the “newness of saying 'Our Father,'” the pontiff explained, an expression which “contains a sense of life, of experience, of authenticity.”
With these words, Jesus “knew how to live praying and to pray living,” the Pope said, and he “invites us to do the same.”
“Our first call is to experience this merciful love of the Father in our lives, in our experiences,” and then share the Gospel with others, he added.
“He has invited us to share in his life, his divine life, and woe to us if we do not share it, woe to us if we are not witnesses to what we have seen and heard, woe to us.”
“We are not and do not want to be 'administrators of the divine',” or “God's employees,” Pope Francis said.
Rather, “we are invited to share in his life,” and “enter into his heart.” In turn, we are called to live out the words: “Our Father.”
Pope Francis recalled the legacy of 16th century Bishop Vasco Vázquez de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacán.
The bishop did not respond to the dire situation experienced by the indigenous Purhépechas Indians with “listless resignation,” the Pope said.
Rather, it “succeeded in kindling his faith, strengthening his compassion and inspiring him to carry out plans that were a “breath of fresh air” in the midst of so much paralyzing injustice.”
“The pain and suffering of his brothers and sisters became his prayer, and his prayer led to his response,” the Pope said of the bishop, who came to be known as “Tata Vasco,” meaning “Father, dad, daddy.”
“It is to this prayer, to this expression, that Jesus calls us,” Pope Francis concluded: “lead us not into the temptation of resignation, lead us not into the temptation of losing our memory, lead us not into the temptation of forgetting our elders who taught us by their lives to say, 'Our Father'.”