What the Pope Learnt this Lent
Humility is needed in order to recognise the voice of God in others, especially those who are perceived to be weak or subject to prejudice, a Franciscan friar told Pope Francis and members of the Roman curia during their Lenten retreat.
God not only speaks through Jesus, but also speaks to him through Peter, who recognises Christ as the Messiah “by revelation”, Franciscan Father Giulio Michelini said.
“Do I have the humility to listen to Peter? Do we have the humility to listen to one another, paying attention to prejudices that we certainly have, but attentive to receive that which God wants to say despite, perhaps, my closures? Do I listen to the voice of others, perhaps weakly, or do I only listen to my voice?” he asked.
The pope and top members of the Roman curia attended their annual Lenten retreat at the Pauline Fathers’ retreat centre in Ariccia, 32km south east of Rome.
Fr Michelini was chosen by Pope Francis to lead meditations on the Gospel of Matthew’s description of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Franciscan delivered two meditations, with the first reflecting on “Peter’s confession and Jesus’ path towards Jerusalem”.
According to Vatican Radio, Fr Michelini called on the 74 people present for the retreat to reflect on the criteria on which they base their discernment and whether “I place myself and my personal benefit before the kingdom of God”.
To listen and act upon God’s will, he said, Christians must have “courage to go into the deep to follow Jesus Christ, taking into account that this involves carrying the cross”.
Jesus, he added, not only proclaimed the joy of the resurrection “but also trial” when he said: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Fr Michelini’s second meditation, “Jesus’ last words and the beginning of the Passion”, explained that the reading of Christ’s Passion reveals two distinct types of logic: Jesus, an observant Jewish layman preparing to celebrate the Passover, and the high priests, who are concerned with the outward appearance of the feast but, at the same time, “prepare to murder an innocent man”.
The question Christians must ask themselves, he said, is if they are “sacred professionals resorting to compromise in order to save the facade, the institution, at the expense of individual rights”.
“This is about an attitude that loses the right perspective, believing they are serving God,” Fr Michelini said.— By Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS