Women are irreplaceable in passing on the faith, Pope says

Women are irreplaceable in passing on the faith, Pope says

Women in prayer. Credit: CNA.
Women in prayer. Credit: CNA.

.- Women in the family have a crucial role in transmitting the faith from one generation to the next, said Pope Francis during morning Mass for the feast of saints Timothy and Titus.

Addressing the congregation gathered in the Vatican's Santa Marta residence on Jan. 26, the Pope centered his reflection on Paul’s letter to Timothy – who writes that his “sincere faith” comes from the Holy Spirit “through his mother and grandmother”.

“Mothers and grandmothers are the ones who transmit the faith,” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio's translation.

He noted that faith is a gift which is passed from one generation to the next by the women in the family, namely “mothers and grandmothers,” or “maids and aunts.” The reason faith is passed by “mainly women,” the Pope said, is “because the one who brought us Jesus is a woman.”

“It is the path chosen by Jesus. He wanted to have a mother: the gift of faith comes to us through women, as Jesus came to us through Mary.”

 Pope Francis stressed the need for women, “in our own day,” to be “aware of the duty they have to transmit the faith.”

The Pope went on to make the distinction between passing on the faith and teaching on matters of the faith.

“Faith is a gift: it is not possible to study faith,” he explained. “We study the things of faith, yes, to understand it better, but with study (alone) one never comes to faith. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which surpasses all ('academic') formation.”

During his homily, the Pope also warned against timidity to avoid a faith that is watered down. In Paul's letter, Timothy is told to avoid “empty pagan chatter, empty chatter of the world.”  

“We have – all of us – received the gift of faith,” the Pope said. He warned of the importance of keeping the faith “in order that it not become watered down, so that it remains strong, with the power of the Holy Spirit who gave it to us.”

Pope Francis also touched on the “spirit of timidity,” which “goes against the gift of faith.”

“God has not given us a spirit of timidity,” Pope Francis said. Timidity, he added, “does not let faith grow, advance, be great. Shame, in turn, is the following sin, (which says): 'Yes, I have faith, but I cover it up, that it not be seen too much.'”

Referred to by “our forebears” as “rosewater” faith because of shame of living “it powerfully,” the Pope said “this is not the faith.”

“(Faith knows) neither timidity nor shame. What is it, then? It is a spirit of power and of love and of prudence: that is what faith is."

“We ask the Lord’s grace,” Pope Francis concluded, “that we might have a sincere faith, a faith that is not negotiable depending on the opportunities that come, a faith that every day I try to revive or at least ask the Holy Spirit to revive it, and make it bear much fruit.”

Tags: Catholic Women, Pope Francis

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