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Pope Francis: there is no “Christian style” without Jesus or the Cross

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2014-03-06 Vatican Radio

 (Vatican Radio) Humility, meekness, generosity: this is the Christian “style,” a way of life that travels along the way the Cross, as Jesus did, and is a life that leads to joy. That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily on Thursday during the Mass at Santa Marta. In the Gospel for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, Jesus says to His disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This, the Pope emphasized, is the “Christian style,” because it was first put into practice by Jesus: “We can’t think of the Christian life apart from this path. There is always this journey, a journey that He took first: the journey of humility, the journey, too, of humiliation, of denying oneself, and then rising. But this is the path. Without the Cross, the Christian style is not Christian, and if the Cross is a Cross without Jesus, it is not Christian. The Christian style takes the Cross with Jesus and goes forward — not without the Cross, not without Jesus.” Jesus gave us an example, the Pope continued. Although He is one in being with God, He “denied Himself, and was made a servant for all of us”: “And this style will save us, will give us joy and make us fruitful, because this path of denying oneself is there to give us life, it is opposed to the path of selfishness, of being attached to all the good things for myself alone… This path is open to others, because the path Jesus took — of abnegation —, that path was to give life. The Christian style is precisely this style of humility, of mildness, of meekness.” “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,” Jesus said, “because if the grain of wheat does not die, it can’t bear fruit.” This is a source of joy, the Pope said, “because He Himself gives us this joy. Following Jesus is a source of joy, but following Jesus in the style of Jesus, not in the style of the world. Following Jesus means following the way of the Lord, as far as one is able, “to give life to others, not to give oneself life. It is the spirit of generosity.” Our selfishness makes us want to appear important in the sight of others. Pope Francis pointed to “the good advice” found in the book, The Imitation of Christ: “love to be unknown and considered as nothing.” This, he said, “is Christian humility” the kind of humility practiced in the first place by Jesus: And this is our joy, and this is our fruitfulness: to go with Jesus. Other joys are not fruitful; as Jesus said, they think only to gain the whole world, but in the end lose and ruin their lives. At the beginning of Lent, let us ask the Lord to teach us a little of this style of Christian service, of joy, of self-abnegation, and of fruitfulness with Him, as He desires.”
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