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Don’t fall into the traps of relativism and rigidity, Pope says

In his homily on Friday Pope Francis focused on the importance of knowing how to discern whether something comes from God or the devil, who seduces and leads us to either become too rigid or relativistic.

“The Evil Spirit never tires…the Christian can never be assured that all is well, he must discern things and be well aware of where they come from, of what their roots are,” the Pope said Oct. 9 during his Mass in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse.

In his homily, the Pope centered on the day’s Gospel passage from Luke, in which after casting out a demon from a man, Christ is accused by the crowd of collaborating with the demon Beelzebul.

The group, Pope Francis said, “did not appreciate him and sought to interpret Jesus’ words and actions in a different way, against Jesus.”

While some did this out of envy, others had a “doctrinal rigidity” they couldn’t let go of, he said. Still others were afraid that the Romans would come to massacre them.
“For many reasons they sought to distance Jesus’ authority from the people, even with slander as in this case…they continually put him to the test, put a trap in front of him, to see if he fell.”

Francis cautioned that such misinterpretations of the situation come from the evil spirit, who stealthily enters a person and “drop by drop” gives them instructions on how to “do things with relativism.”

In order to guard against the evil spirit, one must discern the roots of any given situation, because “temptations always return.”

He emphasized the importance of being watchful and vigilant, because “the bad spirit never tires,” but enters and makes us fall into an even worse situation.

The devil “is hidden, he comes with his very polite friends, knocks at the door, asks for permission, comes in, and lives with that person,” Francis said, explaining that little by little the devil leads the person away from God.

When relativism enters its like “soothing the conscience (or) anaesthetizing the conscience,” he said.
Pope Francis stressed that “when the evil spirit succeeds in anaesthetizing the conscience, it is then he can claim a true victory, for he has become the master of that conscience.”

This can lead one to take on attitudes that say “everyone has problems, everyone sins,” he said, but cautioned that inside the ‘everyone’ is really ‘no one,’ meaning ‘everyone yes, but me no.’

Francis said that watchfulness and discernment are both key remedies for such attacks, and encouraged attendees to follow the Church’s counsel in making a daily examination of conscience.

“What happened today in my heart because of this? From where do these comments, words, teachings come? Who says this?”

Both are needed “in order to not allow the one who deceives, seduces and fascinates enter,” he said, and prayed that the Lord would give them the grace to both discern well and be watchful.

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