During his daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis called on Christians to contemplate what exactly is our Christian identity, and warned against ways it can be weakened, reported Vatican Radio.
It is true that we are sinners, Francis acknowledged. Yet, he added, when we fall down, God’s strength enables us to get up again and continue our journey.
While sin is part of our identity, the Holy Father said, we are sinners with faith in God “who has anointed us, put his seal upon us” and given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge in our hearts.
Christians, the Pope said, are those who remain faithful to this God-given identity as the anointed ones who let the Spirit into their hearts, rather than those who follow a particular philosophy.
The Argentine Pontiff went on to warn of three ways in which this witness can be weakened.
The first applies to those who move for a concrete faith in Christ to "a kind of insipid religion of just prayers and ideas," a type which could be compared to the Gnostics in the ancient world.
These “modern Gnostics,” Francis said, are tempted to avoid the scandal of the Cross. Through their “rather ethereal Christian spirituality," they are content to seek God, Francis said.
Second, there are those who always are searching for some “novelty” in their Christian identity since they have forgotten they have been anointed and given the guarantee of the Spirit. Francis joked that they say: “Where are the visionaries who can tell us exactly what message Our Lady will be sending at 4 o’clock this afternoon?”
The third group, the Pontiff said, are those whose identity is weakened by moral and human “worldliness. Francis said, ''They are like salt that loses its flavor."
"Yet," he continued, "throughout the history of Salvation, God has patiently led us from ambiguity to the concrete certainties of the Incarnation and of our Redemption through the death of his Son."
Pope Francis concluded, saying, “This is our identity,” and called on those gathered to ask the Lord for the grace to bear witness to this truth.