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Pope Francis: swallow 'toads' of pride in order to dialogue
by Elise Harris
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Dec. 4, 2013 Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Dec. 4, 2013 Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA

.- In his daily homily, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of being humble in order to dialogue with others, and emphasized that we should not build “walls” that can foster resentment with others.

“Humility, meekness, becoming all things to everyone and also – but this is not written in the Bible – all of us know that to do these things you have to swallow so many toads. But, we must do it,” the Pope explained in his Jan. 24 daily Mass.

Pope Francis centered his homily, addressed to those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, on the day’s first reading, which was a continuation of yesterday’s conflict between David and King Saul taken from the Frist Letter to Samuel.

The Pope began by referring to a certain kind of wisdom that encourages one to break but not bend, explaining that the Christian wisdom is one that bends rather than breaks.

In this context, the pontiff explained that there are two different ways of looking at life, the first being to look with hardness, in which it is easy to build walls due to a lack of communication between peoples, and which can lead to hatred.

A second attitude, noted the Pope, is to build “bridges” of understanding, even after a fight, however the pontiff also emphasized that to do this requires the practice of “humility.”

Drawing attention to the fact that the day’s liturgy focuses on the clash between David and Saul, the Pope recalled how when David had the opportunity to kill the king, he chose “another way: the way of approaching, of clarifying the situation, of explaining himself. The path of dialogue to make peace.”

“In order to dialogue, meekness is needed, without yelling,” the pontiff observed, adding that “it’s necessary also to think that the other person has something more than me.”

“David,” he recalled, also thought like this, saying “He is the Lord's anointed, and more important than me,” adding that this attitude displays “humility” and “meekness.”

“To dialogue, it is necessary to do what we asked for in prayer today, at the beginning of the Mass: become all things to all people,” the Pope reflected, encouraging those present “to swallow so many toads” of pride which can be obstacles.

“But, we must do it, because peace is made like this: with humility, humiliation, searching always to see in the other the image of God.”

Admitting to the fact that “dialogue is difficult,” Pope Francis expressed that as Christians, we can look to David as a model, because he “overcame hatred with humility.”

“To humble ourselves, and make bridges, always. Always. And this is what it means to be Christian,” continued the pontiff, adding that “It is not easy. It is not easy,” but “Jesus did it: he humbled himself until the end, he has shown us the way.”

Also, it is necessary that “not too much time passes,” he noted, explaining that “when there is a problem, as soon as possible, in the moment that you can do it, after the storm passes, make an approach to dialogue, because time increases the wall, like how the weeds grow that prevent the growth of the wheat.”

“And when the walls grow it is so difficult to reconcile: it is so difficult!”

It is not a problem if “a few times plates fly…in families, in communities, in neighborhoods,” the Pope went on to say, explaining that what is important is to “look for peace as soon as possible,” with either a word or a gesture.

The pontiff re-emphasized the need to build bridges rather than walls, like the one that divided Berlin for many years, because “even in our heart there is the chance to become the Berlin Wall with others.”

“I am afraid of these walls, of these walls that grow every day and foster resentment. And hate,” expressed the Pope.

“We think in this young David: he could have taken revenge perfectly, could have sent the king away and he chose the way of dialogue, with humility, meekness, sweetness.”

Today on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the “Doctor of sweetness,” he said, we can ask the Saint “to give us all the grace to make bridges with the others, never walls.”


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