By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians are not masochists who go looking for martyrdom, but when faced with persecution, humiliation or even just the daily annoyance of a person who makes them angry, what they must seek is to react like Jesus would, Pope Francis said.
Celebrating Mass April 17 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives, Pope Francis said the grace of imitating Christ has been given to modern martyrs, as well as to “many men and women who suffer humiliation every day,” but for the good of their families “they close their mouths, they don’t speak, they endure it for love of Jesus.”
Humiliation is not something one seeks, because “that would be masochism,” he said. Holiness lies in accepting humiliation as an occasion “to imitate Jesus.”
When someone does you wrong, he said, there are two possible paths: “that of closing down, which leads to hatred, anger and wanting to kill the other; or openness to God on the path of Jesus, which makes you take humiliation — even strong humiliation — with interior joy because you are certain you are on Jesus’ path.”
With the little daily humiliations of people being annoying, Pope Francis said, “give time to time. We need this when we think ill of others, when we have bad feelings, dislike them, hate them. Don’t let that grow. Stop yourself. Give time some time.”
“Time puts things in harmony and helps us see clearly,” he said. “If you react immediately in the heat of the moment, it is certain you will be wrong. You will be unjust. And you will also harm yourself,” he said.
The pope said he was not speaking just about what he has read. “The same thing happens to me. When there is something I don’t like, my first feeling isn’t from God — it’s bad. Always,” he said.
“So this is some advice: time, time at the moment of temptation,” the pope said.
Being faithful to God means trying to react like he would, Pope Francis said. “God loves others, loves harmony, loves love, loves dialogue and loves walking together.”
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