If we want to give glory to God, we must remember all He has done for us. But that also means remembering our sins. It means being honest with ourselves, said Pope Francis as he reflected on the Readings of the Day during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
The Lord “chose his people and accompanied them during their journey in the wilderness, throughout their lives”, said Pope Francis commenting on the first reading in which St. Paul recalls his past life, without hiding his sins.
What “God did with His people – the Pope said – he has done and continues to do which each of us”. The Pope then asked “where we were chosen because Christian, and not that person over there, far away who has never even heard of Jesus Christ?”. “It ‘a grace,” was the Pope’s answer: “A grace of love”.
St. Paul’s “concrete memory of this reality, is what makes Paul”, who confesses to having ferociously persecuted the church. Paul does not say “I am good, I am the son of this [family], I have a certain nobility … “. No, Paul says, “I was a persecutor, I’ve been bad”. Pope Francis said that Paul remembers his journey, and he remembers it from the very beginning”.
“This habit of remembering our life is not very common practice. We forget things, we live in the moment and then forget the past. And each of us has a story: a story of grace, a story of sin, a story of journey, so many things … It is a good thing to pray with our history. [A prayer like] the one Paul does, where he tells a piece of his story, but in general says: ‘He has chosen me! He called me! He saved me! He was my companion on the journey … ‘.
Pope Francis continued : “[The act of ] remembering our own lives is to give glory to God. Remembering on our sins, by which the Lord has saved us, is to give glory to God”. “Paul says that he has only two things: his sins, and the grace of the Crucified Lord, His grace”. Paul “remembered his sins, and boasted about them: ‘I was a sinner, but Christ Crucified saved me’ and he boasted about Christ. This was Paul’s memory. This is act of remembering that Jesus himself invites us to do “:
“When Jesus says to Martha: ‘You are worried and troubled about many things, but you only need one thing. Mary has chosen the better part. ‘What does he mean? [He means] Listening to the Lord and remembering. You cannot pray every day as if we did not have a story. Each of us has his or her own. And with this story in our heart we approach prayer, like Mary. Often we are distracted, like Martha, by work, by the day’s events, by those things that we have to do, and we forget this story”.
Pope Francis said that our relationship with God, “does not begin on the day of Baptism: it is sealed there”. [Our relationship] begins “when God, from eternity, looked upon us and chose us. It all begins in God’s heart:
“Remembering that we were chosen, chosen by God. Remembering our journey of covenant. Hve we respected this covenant, or not? No, we are sinners and we remember this, and we remember God’s promise to us which never disappoints, which is our hope. This is the true prayer”.
Pope Francis concluded his homily with an invitation to pray with Psalm 138: ” LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar”. “This is to pray, to pray is to remember in God’s presence because our story is the story of His love for us”.