VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Tuesday lamented “spiritual mummies” and “vagabonds” in the Christian life who forget that Jesus is the only way to the Father.
Speaking during his homily at morning Mass in the Chapel of Santa Marta, on the feast of the Apostles, Sts. Phillip and James, the pope took his inspiration from the gospel account of Jesus’ words: “I am the Way.”
The pope reflected on the need for Christians to follow Jesus consistently and not get waylaid or blocked on their journey of faith, saying there are many different types of Christians who are following Jesus in a confused manner: the mummified Christian, the vagabond Christian, the “hardheaded” or stubborn Christian, and the halfway Christian.
Turning to an examination of these different types of Christians, the Pope pointed first to the Christian who doesn’t move or journey forward and who gives the idea, he said, of being like an (embalmed) mummy.
“Christians who stay still, who don’t go forward, are non-Christian Christians. We don’t know exactly what they are. They are slightly ‘paganized’ Christians: who are there, who stay still and don’t go forward in their Christian lives, who don’t make the Beatitudes bloom in their lives, who don’t do Works of mercy… they are motionless. Excuse me for saying it, but they are like an (embalmed) mummy, a spiritual mummy there. There are Christians who are ‘spiritual mummies,’ motionless, there. They don’t do evil but they don’t do good.”
Hardheaded and Vagabond Christians
Moving on to a description of the “hardheaded“ or stubborn Christian, the Pope said these types of Christians realize that they are taking the wrong direction but, worse still, they insist it’s the right path and don’t heed the voice of our Lord, telling them to turn back and take the correct path.
The next category, he explained, are the vagabond Christians who travel here and there but doesn’t know where they are going.
“They are wanderers in the Christian life, vagabonds. During their life they turn here and there and thus lose the beauty of drawing close to Jesus in the Jesus’ life. They lose their way because they are constantly turning and often this turning is wrong and takes them to a dead end. Turning so many times, (the road) becomes a labyrinth and then they don’t know how to get out. They have lost the call from Jesus. They don’t have a compass to get out and they keep on turning and searching. There are other Christians who whilst journeying are seduced by the beauty of an object and they stop half way, fascinated by what they see, by some idea, a proposal or a landscape. And they stop! Christian life is not a fascination: it’s the truth! It’s Jesus Christ!”
It’s time to ask
After looking at these different types of Christians, Pope Francis said we do well to examine our own lives and ask whether we too have stopped or lost our way.
Are we standing in front of the things that we like such as worldliness and vanity or are we journeying forward and “putting into practice the beatitudes and works of mercy” in our daily lives? Jesus’ way “is full of consolations, glory and also the cross,” he said, “but always with peace in our souls.”
The Pope invited all those present at Mass to ponder: “How am I doing on this Christian journey? Am I standing still, making mistakes, turning here and there, stopping in front of the things that I like, or (am I following) Jesus who said: “I am the Way’?”
“Let us implore the Holy Spirit to teach us to journey along the right road, forever,” Pope Francis concluded. “And when we get tired, a little refreshment and then we carry on our journey. Let us ask for this grace.”
[Editor’s Note: Take the Daily Poll — Do you feel like a spiritual vagabond?]