An inert Christian who doesn’t move forward along the path marked out by Jesus is a “spiritual mummy,” Pope Francis said Tuesday, adding that this sort of Christian doesn’t bear any fruit because he is standing still.
In his homily Tuesday morning in the chapel at the Saint Martha residence where he lives in the Vatican, Francis said that if Jesus is truly “the way,” then a Christian’s first duty is to walk along it.
There are several ways of walking, he noted, and the first of these is “not to walk” at all but to just stand there. A Christian who does not walk, he said, “is a ‘non-Christian’ Christian, a somewhat paganized Christian.” He is there, standing still, and “the beatitudes do not flourish in his life, he does not perform works of mercy, he is at a standstill.”
This sort of Christian, the Pope added, “is like a mummy, a spiritual mummy.”
“There are Christians who are spiritual mummies,” he said. “They are stationary: they do no harm, but do not do good.” But this way of being “will not bear fruit: These are not fruitful Christians because they do not walk.”
Besides those who don’t walk, there are also those who take the wrong road, Francis said, as “all of us do only too often.” The Pope insisted that it is not a tragedy to take the wrong road or miss a turn along the way, because “the Lord comes and helps us.” The real tragedy, he said, “is to be stubborn and say, ‘this is the way,’ and not allow the Lord to tell you, ‘This is not the way, come back to the true path.”
There are still others, Francis said, “who wander through life as Christian vagabonds.”
“Their life becomes a travelling here and there, and thus they lose the beauty of drawing near to Jesus,” he said. This roaming about without knowing where they are going easily “turns into a labyrinth, from which they don’t know how to escape,” he said.
There are also those who get seduced along the way by the beautiful things in life, the Pope continued, and they cease walking toward Jesus. As an analogy, Francis said that a person on a trip somewhere “doesn’t stop halfway just because he likes the hotel he is in for the night or the landscape along the way.”
In the end, the Pope said, there are “many ways of walking the right path,” because “the right way, the right way is Jesus.”
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