In the spirit of finding 10 inspiring quotes from Pope Francis to mark the second anniversary of his election, I can look to today’s homily at Casa Santa Marta, via Vatican Radio, my emphases.
“We find that the Lord has so much enthusiasm: he speaks of joy and says ‘I will exult in my people’. The Lord thinks of what He will do and of how He will rejoice with His people. It’s almost as if he has a dream. He has a dream. His dream is about us. ‘Oh, how beautiful it will be when we are all together, when this and that person will walk with me… I will exult in that moment!’ To bring you an example that can help us better understand, it’s like when a girl or a boy think of their beloved: ‘when we will be together, when we marry…’. It’s God’s ‘dream’”.
“Have you thought about it? The Lord dreams of me! He thinks of me! I am in the Lord’s mind and in His heart! The Lord can change my life! And he has many projects: ‘we will build houses and plant vineyards, we will share our meals’… these are the dreams of someone who is in love…. Thus we can see that the Lord is in love with his people. And when he says to his people: ‘I haven’t chosen you because you are the strongest, the biggest, the most powerful. I have chosen you because you are the smallest of them all. You could add: the most miserable. This is whom I have chosen’. This is love”.
To have faith is to make space for God’s love, to make space for his power, for God’s power. Not for the power of a powerful person, but for the power of one who loves me, who is in love with me and who wants to rejoice with me. This is faith. This is believing: making space for the Lord so that he can come and change me”.
I think of Galatians 3:1-3, my emphases.
3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
What the Holy Father is getting at is that we do not sanctify ourselves by seeking perfection through the works of the law.
I think one of the great teachings of Lenten disciplines is humility—a realization that as soon as we try to pray more, or to become more virtuous and so on, we come right up against the fact that by our own power, we are totally incapable of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, especially if we desire both an inward and outward obedience to God’s Commands.
At the same time, however, the teachings of the law are important and this is where the confusion comes in. Living by the Spirit, obeying Jesus Christ, allowing God to change us will enable us to fulfill the law, but it will be by God’s power not our own.
We have to believe the right things about God. We cannot merely believe and dream big and expect those dreams to come true—our prayers and dreams must be God’s for us, that of the True God, the Holy Trinity.