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It’s suicide to separate from roots and tradition, says Pope Francis

POPE FRANCIS AUDIENCE
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Laments those who try to break from the past in a false attempt to "be modern"

Pope Francis spoke to discalced Augustinians about the importance of staying connected to the roots of their foundation in order to continue to grow, saying that it’s suicide to separate from tradition.

Some 200 members of the General Chapter of the Discalced Augustinians were received by the pope in an audience in the Vatican on September 12.

The Order of the Discalced Augustinians (OAD) is a contemplative-missionary community with a special vow of humility. It was established in 1610 as a reform movement within the Order of St. Augustine (OSA) that was formed in 1244.

The Holy Father urged the Augustinians to stay connected to this rich history.

In order to be modern, some people think it’s necessary to separate from one’s roots. But this brings to ruin, because roots and tradition are the guarantee of the future. True tradition is not a museum, and roots are the tradition that gives sap that enables a tree to grow, bloom, and give fruit.

Never separate yourselves from your roots in order to be modern; that’s suicide.

Prayer and penance never cease to be the cornerstone on which a Christian testimony is built, a testimony that in some contexts is entirely against the current, but which, accompanied by humility and charity, reaches the hearts of so many men and women, even in our own day.

Given the order’s special vow of humility, the pope also spoke about this fundamental virtue.

Francis echoed the Augustinian prior, who spoke of humility as a key. The pope said it is a key that opens God’s heart and the hearts of people.

And first of all, it opens your own hearts to be faithful to your original charism, to recognize yourselves always as disciple-missionaries, ready for the calls of God.

The pope shared an anecdote about how humility is a gift from God, not something that can be forced or grabbed up.

I remember a religious who was very vain, very vain. This is a true story. He’s still alive. His superiors always told him, “You should be more humble, more humble.” And so eventually he said, “I’m going to do 30 days of spiritual exercises so that the Lord gives me the grace of humility.” And when he came back, he said, “Thanks be to God. I was very vain. Very vain. But after these exercises, I have conquered all my passions.”

He had found humility, the pope joked, clarifying that humility is something that comes on its own, and can’t be quantified.

Quoting the Augustinians’  motto — “Happy to serve the Most High in a spirit of humility” — the pope told them to continue along that path with the living Christ. “May the Lord bless you,” he said, “and may the Virgin and St. Augustine protect you.”

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