Wednesday, May 03, 2017

I like this too: The pope stressed that the criteria for selecting novices is that "they be normal"

This informal meeting with Salesian novices is candid, frank and especially endearing ...

The Pope says the candidates to religious life must be normal.  Warning of those who wish to enter seminary because they feel that they are unable to handle themselves in the real world.

The Holy Father's suggestions for discernment of candidates ...
“I think that the criteria is that… they be normal. Beware of those youths with the face of a ‘little saint,’ to those I don’t even ask to recite the Our Father!”  They should be “joyous, athletic and normal,” the pope added. 
“During the journey there are a lot of surprises from God and even not from God. We should be careful in trying to help them look these surprises in the face. If there are difficulties, look them straight in the face,” Pope Francis said. “And we must help them to remove any form of hypocrisy. That is a plague: hypocrisy within the Church.” 
The pope did not only address the corruption within the Church, but also warned of the “hypocrisy of mediocrity, of those who wish to enter seminary because they feel that they are unable to handle themselves in the real world. 
“If you find one who is too diplomatic, beware. If you find one who lies, invite him to go back home,” the pope said.
“The religious must be hot-blooded!”
The pope went on to say that this is not a time for words but for witnesses, and recalled the example of St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians, who approached young people on the streets and called them to Mass. - Crux

Works for me.

Sometimes the Holy Father says things so honestly, some people can be offended.  But I know what he means, I know what he is talking about here.  "Hypocrisy of mediocrity" - unable to handle themselves in the real world can also be related to the defect of being unwilling or unable to take responsibility.  Being too diplomatic can be equated with being manipulative ...  and that leads to lying.  ("He who praises you deceives you.")  Pretending to fit in, an inordinate desire for approval, craving affirmation and praise, and so on.  That is hypocritical.  External piety, rigid adherence to religious decorum to either fit in or avoid duty ... it too can be a form of lying.  Lying can become a habit, pretending to be what you think you want to be, or should be - when you are not - is an act.  As an actor in a play - one is playing a role - it's a lie.

These things need to be purged through mortification and penance, with the help of the sacraments and prayer and spiritual direction - but I don't think religious life is the place to do that.  Frequently the determination of youth blinds one to these defects.  We need solid discernment from good directors to recognize these inclinations, as well as to promote an integrated spiritual life, purified of pious delusions.  Or, as St. John of the Cross would say, the dark night, and/or purgatory will purify us these faults.  If they result in serious sin, one needs to go to confession.

"If a good man reproves me, it is kindness."

I love the pope and these little corrections he offers.

It is a great grace to be sent away from religious life, or the seminary.  It is so much better than leaving after ordination 'When your secret's all found out'.

Yeah.  Not a good fit.


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