The spirit of the world is illusory, lacking strength and substance, and destined to fall. The spirit of God, meanwhile, is true. Pope Francis thus says that worldliness can be compared to a type of dessert served during Carnival (the three days preceding the beginning of Lent). The crepes are called “Lies,” because the dough is filled with air and they are fluffy. The spirit of the world, born from the Father of Lies, is similarly lacking in any real substance.
The pope offered this illustration today in the Casa Santa Marta, reflecting on today’s reading from St. John: If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar.
The spirit of the world always divides families and society, the pope said. But the spirit of God demands that we love our brothers.
If you are not capable of loving God in practice, then it’s not true that you love God. And the spirit of the world is a spirit of division. When it gets into a family, a community, a society, it always creates division. Always. And the divisions grow and then comes hate and war. John goes farther and says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar.” That is to say, a son of the spirit of the world, which is pure lies, pure appearances. And this is something it would be good to think about. Do I love God?
The Holy Father then suggested signs that I do truly love God, as shown in my love for neighbor. Among them are putting a halt to feelings of jealousy and the evil of gossip. But the first sign, he says, is praying for our enemies.
The first sign, the question that all of us need to ask ourselves: Do I pray for people? For all of them, concretely, those who I like and those who I don’t, those who are my friends and those who aren’t? That’s first.
Pope Francis: How do you pray when someone asks you to pray for him?