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The spirit of wisdom triumphs over worldly curiosity

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·

In his homily during Holy Mass on Thursday morning, 14 November, Pope Francis commented on the first Reading of the day, taken from the Book of Wisdom (7:22-8:1). He began by noting that the biblical passage “describes the state of soul of spiritual men and women” who live “in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit”. This wisdom, the Scriptures tell us, is “intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear”. The Christian is called to “journey through life in this spirit, in the Spirit of God who assists and guides us in making decisions in accord with the heart of God”. The Holy Father added: “this spirit gives us peace, always; he is the spirit of peace, the spirit of love, the spirit of fraternity”.

“This is what holiness is,” Pope Francis said. “It is what God asked of Abraham: walk in my presence and be blameless in my sight”. It is a matter of “coming under the influence and movement of God’s Spirit and of this wisdom. And we can say that the man and woman who journey thus are wise, for they move docilely under the motion of the patience of God”.

However, the Holy Father added that in the day’s Gospel from St Luke (17:20-25) “we find ourselves confronted by another spirit, which is opposed to the spirit of God: the spirit of curiosity. It leads us to want to become masters of God’s plans, of the future, of things, to know everything, to seize hold of everything”. He noted that in the Gospel passage, the Pharisees ask Jesus: ‘When will the kingdom of God come?’ “There were curious! They wanted to know the date, the day...”.

The spirit of curiosity draws us away from the spirit of wisdom,” he explained, since urges us to look only for the “details, the news, the little stories of the day”. The Pope added: “the spirit of curiosity is not a good spirit; it is the spirit of dissipation, of drawing away from God, of talking too much”.

The Pontiff continued, “Jesus tells us something quite interesting in this regard: this spirit of curiosity, which is worldly, leads us into confusion”. For he says in the Gospel: “the days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Lo, there! or ‘Lo, here!’” “It is curiosity that leads us to listen to these things,” he said. “They tell us: the Lord is here, he is there, and there! But I know a visionary, a visionary who receives message from Our Lady”. To which the Pope added: “But look, Our Lady is a Mother and she loves us all. But she is not a post mistress sending messages every day”.

In reality, Pope Francis said, “these novelties draw us away from the Gospel, from wisdom, from the glory of God, from the beauty of God”. And he added: “Jesus says that the kingdom of God does not come in a way that attracts attention”; rather, it comes by wisdom.“The kingdom of God is in your midst”, he said, and “the kingdom of God is this work, this action of the Holy Spirit who gives us wisdom, who gives us peace. The kingdom of God does not come in confusion. Just as God did not speak to the prophet Elijah in the strong wind, or the earthquake or the fire. He spoke to him in a still soft breeze, the breeze was the whisper of wisdom”.

The Pope then recalled that “little Thérèse said that she had to stop herself when faced with the spirit of curiosity. When she was speaking with another sister, and this sister was telling a story, something about her family, about people. Sometimes the conversation would turn to another topic and she wanted to know the end of the story. But she sensed that this was not of the spirit of God, since it was a spirit of dissipation, of curiosity”.

“The kingdom of God is in our midst,” Pope Francis concluded. “Do not seek strange things, do not look for novelties with worldly curiosity”. Rather, “let us allow the Spirit to lead us forward with the wisdom of a soft breeze. This is the spirit of the kingdom of God of which Jesus speaks”.

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