Pope Francis talked about the importance of love in Christian life. He said that without love, there’s no freedom.
“When love is perfect, there’s no fear. In love there’s no fear, because being afraid means expecting to be punished. People who are afraid can’t love perfectly and are not free, either. They fear something painful or sad will occur and will ruin their lives or endanger their salvation. They have all those fears, only because they don’t love. A person who can’t love is not free.”
The Pope concluded that Christians must avoid what he called “religious narcissism,” and must be open to the love of God.
EXCERPT OF THE POPE’S HOMILY Source: Vatican Radio
“Creating a world within one self, all closed in. Closed within oneself, in one’s community or parish, but always closed in. And this closure can revolve around so many things. But let’s think about pride, self-sufficiency, thinking I am better than others, and vanity too, right? We have ‘mirror men and women’ (who are wedded to their own image in the mirror), who are closed in on themselves and are constantly looking at themselves, right? These religious narcissists, right? But they have a hardened heart because they are closed in on themselves, they are not open. And they seek to defend themselves with these walls that they have created around themselves.”
“When a heart becomes hardened, it’s not free and if it’s not free it’s because that person isn’t capable of love, that was the fate of the Apostle John in the first Reading. A love that’s perfect banishes fear: in love there’s no fear, because fear is expecting a punishment and a person who’s afraid doesn’t have a perfect love. He or she is not free. They are constantly afraid that something painful or sad will occur, that will cause their life to go badly or will endanger their eternal salvation… What an (over-active) imagination, because he or she can’t love. A person who isn’t capable of loving is not free. And their heart was hardened because they hadn’t learnt how to love.”
“You can follow thousands of catechism courses, thousands of spirituality courses, thousands of yoga or zen courses and all these things. But none of this will be able to give you the freedom as a child (of God). Only the Holy Spirit can prompt your heart to say ‘Father.’ Only the Holy Spirit is capable of banishing, of breaking that hardness of heart and making it … soft? No, I don’t like that word, … ‘docile’. Docile towards the Lord. Docile when it comes to the freedom to love.”
With thanks to http://www.romereports.com