Francis explains how the devil gets to sit back and watch us do his work of destruction once he has succeeded at lighting the fire of war
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; … Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Pope Francis reflected on the reading from 1 John today to say that we must not be “sowers of war” in our own environs.
The “peace of the people” or a country “is sown in the heart,” the Holy Father said, adding that without peace in our hearts, we cannot think of peace in the world. And the path to peace within, St. John points out in the day’s first reading, is to remain in the Lord.
Pope Francis said it is the Lord who makes peace by sending the Holy Spirit to create peace within us. “If we remain in the Lord our heart will be at peace;” and if we remain in the Lord when we slip on a sin or a defect, the Spirit will alert us about this error.
War is the devil’s temptation
Love, the pope emphasized, is revealed in “little things.”
“If there is war in my heart,” he warned, “there will be war in my family, in my neighborhood and my workplace.”
The Holy Father urged Christians to ask themselves how often they speak “with a spirit of peace” and how often “with a spirit of war.”
Pope Francis lamented that too often the way we act in our families, communities, and jobs reflects an attitude of war.
“To make war,” he said, “is the temptation of the devil.”
Peace – a gift of the Holy Spirit
When the devil manages to make us go to war and lights the fire of war, the pope continued, he gets to sit back and relax. “We are the ones who work to destroy each other,” Francis said, as we take up the devil’s work.
“We are the ones who carry on the war, the destruction,” destroying ourselves first, “because we throw love out” and then destroying others.
The pope noted how much we are addicted to this habit of destroying others through jealousy, gossip, and other sins. It is a seed that the devil sows inside us, he said, calling us to pray for a peace that is “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” by trying to remain in the Lord.