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In his homily at daily Mass today, Pope Francis preached on the reading from the first Letter of John which emphasizes that whoever loves God must also love his neighbor. He contrasted genuine love with the spirit of the world, which creates division, and he offered three signs of a lack of such love:
Failure to pray for others, including those we dislike;
Failure - Feelings - Envy - Jealousy - Someone
Failure to resist feelings of envy, jealousy or wishing someone ill;
Failure to avoid gossip about others.
Homily - Guidance - Love - Others - Means
This homily offered some practical guidance for assessing our love of others as a means of discerning whether we really do love God. But I would suggest a fourth test which Church leaders are seldom willing to mention in our secular age:
Failure to summon the courage to offer correction to those who, by their thoughts and actions, deny reality, oppose God’s will and place themselves in grave spiritual danger.
Courage - Culture - Law - Regards - Religion
This courage is especially needed now because we live in a culture which denies the natural law and regards religion as a violation of human liberty. It is also a rationally inconsistent culture, for those who shape it do not hesitate to create their own moral codes out of mere fashion, condemning as beyond the pale their neighbors who fail to agree with positions which shine like Lucifer. This hypocrisy places at a severe cultural disadvantage those who understand both natural law and Divine Revelation as liberating guides to a good life—not to mention happiness after death.
St. John was (obviously) correct when he wrote:
Lines - Prophets
But he was also correct when, a few lines earlier, he wrote about false prophets:
It follows that we who confess that “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4:2)* bear a heavy responsibility for fraternal correction, a responsibility which must first of all be exercised within the Church (see Mt 18:15-17)....
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