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Be careful: Idols make your memory selective, warns pope

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/26/20

We can so often think of the good things of the past, without remembering the difficulties too

Pope Francis prayed during his morning Mass on March 26 for the grace to “recognize our idols,” since the idols we have in our lives are not usually as easy to see as the golden calf.

Drawing on the experience of the Israelites in the desert, the pope noted how idolatry makes our memory and thoughts “selective.”

“It makes you think of the good things that it gives you. But it doesn’t allow you to see the bad things,” he said. The chosen people remembered all the good things that were on their tables when they were in Egypt. “But they forgot that it was the table of slavery,” Pope Francis pointed out.

He also reflected how we use the gifts of God to construct our idols:

When we do things that lead us to idolatry, we become attached to things that distance us from God. We make another god with the gifts that the Lord has given us: with our intelligence, our will, our love, our heart. We use God’s very gifts to make idols.

And idolatry can even affect our prayer, as the Chosen People wanted to worship the golden calf. In this sense the pope warned that the idol of worldliness can even infect how we live the sacraments. He gave the example of matrimony, asking how often we might turn the celebration of Christian marriage into a fashion show instead of the celebration of a sacrament. “What is this one wearing? What is this other one wearing? This other one?”

“What are my idols?” “Where do I hide them?” These are the questions to ask ourselves today, the pope said.

May the Lord not find us at the end of our lives and say to us: ‘You apostatized. You deviated from the way that I marked out. You prostrated yourself before an idol.’ We ask the Lord for the grace of recognizing our own idols.


Read more:
If you need hope, foster your “Christian memory,” says Francis

Pope FrancisPope's Morning Mass
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