Pope Francis teaches that the love of God is the source of salvation, not religious formalities, in the weekly papal audience.
“Even when we are tempted to turn away [from Him], God continues to bestow his gifts on us,” Pope Francis said during the general audience on September 1, 2021. Holiness “comes from the Holy Spirit who is the gratuity of the redemption of Jesus ” not of a “rigid religiosity,” he stressed.
The Holy Father resumed his teaching on Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In this letter, the latter reproaches the community of Galatia for its “formalism”—that is to say a “religiosity founded solely on the scrupulous observation of the precepts,” a repudiation of the action of grace and of the Holy Spirit according to the Apostle of the Gentiles.
“Saint Paul invites us too to reflect on our way of living the faith,” underlined the head of the Catholic Church. According to the pontiff, he asks each one if the love of God remains the “source of salvation” at the center of his Christian life. Or if, on the contrary, his existence is guided by “life choices that are specific to [him],” by “religious formalities” which only appease his conscience.
The pontiff again opposed the “precious treasure” of the beauty of the newness of Christ to that which “momentarily attracts” but which leaves empty “within.” “The ephemeral often knocks on the door during our days, but it is a sad illusion, which makes us give in to superficiality and prevents us from discerning what is really worth living,” he warned.
Pope Francis has finally warned, once again, against “rigidity” and “fundamentalist proposals” which make one go “backwards” in the spiritual life. On the contrary, the Bishop of Rome called his hearers to go “forward in the paschal vocation of Jesus,” to follow an “asceticism of the resurrection of Jesus” and therefore to move away from “the artificial asceticism” proposed by fundamentalists.
“God does not abandon us but rather abides with us in His merciful love,” concluded Pope Francis. “He is like that father who went up onto the terrace every day to see if his son was returning: the love of the Father never tires of us.”