Pope Francis: Don't whitewash your sins – let God heal you

Jubilee audience in St Peters Square with Pope Francis on Nov 12 2016 Credit Lucia Ballester 5 CNA Jubilee audience in St. Peter's Square with Pope Francis on Nov. 12, 2016. | Lucia Ballester/CNA.

As Christmas approaches, don't downplay your sins, Pope Francis said. Instead, name them honestly in the Sacrament of Confession, open your heart, and ask the Lord to heal you from within.

If we merely say: "yes, yes, I have some sins; I go, I confess…and then I go on as before," we don't allow ourselves to be recreated by the Lord, the Pope said Dec. 5.

It's as if we've applied "two coats of paint" on our heart, believing that is good enough.

"No!" he said. What we should do instead is name our sins carefully, saying: "I've done this, and this, and this, and I am ashamed at heart. And I open my heart," asking the Lord to "recreate me!"

Doing this is what will give us the courage to go towards Christmas with "true faith," Francis said.

It often happens that we want "to hide the gravity of our sins," he said, but when we attempt to "diminish," instead of acknowledge our sins, they become "very ugly," like "the venom of a serpent" that seeks to destroy others.

Referring to the day's reading from the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus first forgives the sins of the paralytic man before physically healing him, Francis focused on the great importance of seeking out Christ's spiritual healing in our own lives.

What Jesus did in the Gospel, he said, "was not only change things from ugly to beautiful, from wicked to good: Jesus made a transformation."

It's not a solution of "cosmetics" or "make-up," Pope Francis noted. "He changed everything from the inside!" The message of the Gospel is that before healing the paralytic man, Jesus first forgave his sins, "recreating him" and making him "totally new."

Just as the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah is also about renewal, the Pope encouraged everyone to seek out renewal by going to the "root" of our sins.

We must "get to the bottom of our sins and then give them to the Lord, so that He will cancel them and help us go forward with faith," he said. "We are all sinners," but if we go to the root of our sins and invite God there, he will come and make us a "new man" or a "new woman."

Just as Mary Magdalene did not have a physical ailment, but "a wound within," we are all sinners in need of healing, the Pope said. Mary Magdalene recognized that Jesus could heal not only physical sickness, but spiritual as well.

"This is what the Lord is asking of us today," he said. "'Courage! Give me your sins and I will make you a new man, a new woman.' May the Lord give us faith to believe this."

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