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The treasure and the clay

· The Pope's morning Mass at his residence in Rio ·

Before beginning his daily activities in Rio Pope Francis celebrates Mass in which every now and then various people take part. On Friday morning,  26 July, he concelebrated  with Jesuit confreres, while on the previous day, Thursday, 25 July,  a numerous group of Brazilian bishops, priests and seminarians had taken part. The subject of his homily, delivered in Spanish, was human fragility or, rather, the awareness of human fragility or frailty in the face of the immensity of God’s mystery. We are like clay vessels that contain an immense treasure: woe betide those who forget it, for they would end by deceiving themselves that they were something other than what they are and thus believe the flattery that does so much harm to the Church.

The heart of the matter is the tension born between the consistence of the treasure given and the fragility of the container, “a simple clay vase”. This concerns “all of us, consecrated people, religious, priests, bishops”, the Pope said, because “we have received a gift” and we are all “clay vases”.  Our problem is not to lose our balance in this tension, not to forget we are clay vases and be tempted to beautify the vase.

And “how can we recognize God’s greatness?”, the Pope asked, and concluded: asking ourselves “how we make our confession will show us whether we are aware of being made of clay; and how we pray, whether we worship in prayer, will tell us that we are aware that this is a gift, and a great gift”.

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