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Pope Francis: Humility ‘is the source of peace in the world and in the Church’

Pope Francis: Humility ‘is the source of peace in the world and in the Church’

Pope Francis waves to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Wednesday general audience on May 22, 2024, at the Vatican. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, May 22, 2024 / 09:03 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Wednesday closed his catechetical series on vices and virtues with a review of humility, a virtue that forms the “the base of Christian life” and is a source of peace for the Church and the world.

“Humility is everything. It is what saves us from the evil one and from the danger of becoming his accomplices. It is the source of peace in the world and in the Church. God has given us an example of this in Jesus and Mary, for our salvation and happiness,” the pope said to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning.

The pope’s reflection on humility closes a series on the four cardinal and three theological virtues that began last December. While humility is not part of the seven “heavenly virtues,” the pope underscored the importance of humility as forming the “base of Christian life.”

Pope Francis greets pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Wednesday general audience on May 22, 2024, at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media

Humility is the “great antagonist of the most mortal of sins, namely arrogance,” the pope said, stressing that it “restores everything to its correct dimension.”

Francis buttressed this point by looking to the beatitudes, which come from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, with the pope reading aloud the first: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The pope said the first beatitude serves as a foundation for the others.

“Meekness, mercy, and purity of heart stem from that inner sense of smallness,” he said. “Humility is the gateway to all the virtues.”

The Holy Father further developed this point by looking to Mary as a personification of the virtue of humility.

“The chosen heroine is not a little queen who grew up coddled, but an unknown girl, Mary,” he said.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Wednesday general audience on May 22, 2024, at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media

“Not even the most sacred truth of her life, being the Mother of God, becomes a reason for her to boast before men,” he continued. “In a world marked by the pursuit of appearance, of showing oneself to be superior to others, Mary walks decisively, by the sole power of God’s grace, in the opposite direction.”

Observing that Mary faced “difficult moments” and “days when her faith advanced in darkness,” the pope implored the faithful to emulate the Blessed Mother as her humility never wavered.

“She is always small, always without self-importance, always free of ambition. This smallness of hers is her invincible strength: It is she who remains at the foot of the cross while the illusion of a triumphant Messiah is shattered.”

At the end of the catechesis the pope renewed his regular appeal for peace, saying: “We need peace; the world is at war.”

“Let’s not forget the tormented Ukraine, which is suffering so much. Let’s not forget Palestine, Israel; may this war stop. Let’s not forget Myanmar and let’s not forget many countries at war.”

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