General Audience. The advice of the Pontiff to stop being pessimistic and to say no more: “I am worth nothing”, “everything is going wrong for me”, “I will never do anything good”…
Do you want to avoid winning the Nobel Prize for negativity? Pope Francis today presented several keys to discernment (the art of reading the alphabet of the heart) to know read your own life story and get out of pessimism.
In the General Audience this Wednesday, October 19, 2022, the Pontiff asked the faithful to stop saying phrases that discourage them:
«I am worth nothing”, “everything goes wrong for me”, “I will never do anything good». And he urged to leave behind a “toxic” language that “sinks you”, noted the Bishop of Rome in St. Peter’s Square.
Today the Pope invited us to observe carefully what happens within us, last week he proposed desire as a spiritual compass:
«This is an invitation that I make to everyone, I also make it to myself: come back into you. Read your life, read yourself inside, how your path has been, with serenity. come back into yourself».
In this way, he has proposed discernment to know how to make decisions in life:
And he defined: “Discernment is the narrative reading of the consolations and desolations that we experience throughout our lives.
It is the heart that speaks to us about God, and we must learn to understand his language».
1Open the book of your own story: “Enter within yourself”
«Our life is the most valuable “book” that has been given to usa book that many unfortunately do not read, or they do it too late, before they die.”
The Pope quoted Saint Augustine (confessions X, 27.38) a «seeker of the truth» who rereading his life has noticed «in her the silent and discreet steps, but incisive, of the presence of the Lord».
From here, the Pope indicated his invitation to cultivate the interior life to find what is sought: «go inside yourselfbecause in the inner man resides the truth” (of true religionXXXIX, 72).
two Leave the stereotyped messages that hurt you
The Pope invites you to read yourself inside: «how has your path been, with serenity». And just as Saint Augustine freed himself from thoughts that “take us away from ourselves, stereotyped messages that hurt us.”
Francis invites us to avoid phrases that imprison soul and heart: “AndOr am I worthless?”, “everything goes wrong for me”, “I will never do anything good” Y you sink, etc..»
«These pessimistic phrases discourage you.Reading your own story also means recognizing the presence of these “toxic” elements.but to later expand the plot of our story».
It is a matter – says the Pope – of learning “to notice other things, making” one’s own history “richer, more respectful of complexity, also managing to collect the discreet ways in which God acts in our lives”.
3Don’t be a Nobel laureate of negativity
The Pope says that he once met someone who won “the Nobel Prize for negativity,” according to those who knew him. And he proposed this anecdote of a ‘negative’ person, embittered, for the reflection of those present:
“Everything was bad, everything was bad! And he was always trying to bring himself down. He was a bitter person, but he had many qualities. And then, this person found a person who helped him…”
Thus, this seemingly bitter person “every time he complained about something. The person who assisted him spiritually told him: ‘Now to compensate, say something nice on your part.’ – ‘But I do have this quality,’ she admitted.
In this way, little by little this person who was negative at the beginning began to “read his life well, both the good things and the bad”.
In this sense, the Pope urged learning to “read our own lives.” Thus, he said, “we see the things that are not good, but also the good things that God sows within us.”
4Learn to be more objective with the story of the events of your life
The Pope explained that discernment has a narrative approach: “it does not stop at the specific action, it includes it in a context.”
That is why, says the Successor of Peter, who does well to question himself: «where does this thought come from? Where are you taking me? When have I had the chance to find it before? Why is he more insistent than others?
«The story of the events of our life consent too capture important nuances and detailsthat valuable aids that until then were hidden can be revealed».
For example, he explained that «a reading, a service, a meeting, at first sight considered things of little importance, in the following time transmit a inner peace».
Discerning one’s own history is knowing how to read the little things that “convey the joy of living and suggest further initiatives for good.”
Furthermore, because “it is a job of collection of precious and hidden pearls that the Lord has sown in our land».
The good is modest, it hides, it is silent, “it requires a slow and continuous excavation.
Because God’s style is discreet, he does not impose himself, God likes to hide, to be discreet; it is like the air we breathe, we never see it, but it makes us live, and we realize it only when we lack it », he preached.
5Educate your eyes to notice the small miracles of God in your life
The Bishop of Rome explained that it is important to get used to rereading one’s own life, to educate one’s gaze, to refine one’s heart in order to «notice the small miracles that the good Lord performs for us every day».
In this way, “inner taste, peace and creativity” are developed. Discern “makes us freer from toxic stereotypes.” This to “know one’s own past and not be condemned to repeat it.” […] Just like “the dog that bites its tail,” he said.
So, he invited us to ask: «Have I ever told anyone about my life? And he indicated that this is what boyfriends do when they take things seriously.
«It is one of one of the most beautiful and intimate forms of communication. This allows discovering things unknown until then, small and simple (cf. lc 16,10)».
He has also asked to read the lives of the saints who “constitute a precious help for recognize God’s style in one’s own life.
In this line, he has quoted Saint Ignatius of Loyola that when you discover what is fundamental in your life, it adds an important clarification that helps to discern the desolation and the consolation who live within the same heart:
«Taking from experience that from some thoughts he remained sad, and from others joyful, and little by little coming to know the diversity of the spirits that stirred» (bus., n. 8).
The Pope has proposed a spiritual exercise:
«Let’s ask ourselves at the end of the day: What happened today in my heart? Some people think that to do this examination of conscience is to account for the sins committed, we commit many, no, no, no…
Let us ask ourselves: What has happened inside of me? Did you have joy? What brought me this joy? I have been sad? What has brought me this sadness? And so we learn to discern what happens inside us. Thank you », she concluded.
On the other hand, the Pontiff recalled the pain of Ukraine and Nigeria, at the end of his catechesis and greeting the faithful and pilgrims in various languages:
“Let us return with our thoughts to the tormented Ukraine and we pray for the Ukraine, we pray for the bad things that are happening there, the torture, the deaths, the destruction.”
Likewise, the Pope lamented the floods in Nigeria and asked for prayers for the many losses, for the victims and for the victims of the natural calamity.
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5 keys from the Pope to avoid winning “the Nobel Prize for negativity”