Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus
home iconChurch
line break icon

Don’t seek God just to get things, says Pope

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/01/21

Pope Francis warns that we can try to "use" God just as we "use" people.

Pope Francis is warning against the danger of seeking God only for our interests, just as we can use people “first and foremost [for] the satisfaction of our needs.”

We can thus in some sense exploit our faith, just as we exploit people, the Holy Father explained.

The Pope spoke of this in his reflection on the August 1 Gospel, from John 6.

[T]he Gospel teaches us that it is not enough to seek God; we must also ask why we are seeking him. Indeed, Jesus says: “You seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (v. 26). […]

Here then is a first question we can ask ourselves: Why do we seek the Lord? Why do I seek the Lord? What are the motivations  for my faith, for our faith?

This temptation, the Pope explained, “drives us to seek God for our own use, to solve problems, to have, thanks to Him, what we cannot obtain on our own, for our interests.”

“At the centre of this immature faith is not God, but our own needs,” Francis said.

It is good to present our needs to God, he clarified, “but the Lord, who acts far beyond our expectations, wishes to live with us first of all in a relationship of love.”

And true love is disinterested, it is free: One does not love to receive a favour in return! This is self-interest; and very often in life we are motivated by self-interest.

Jesus will “purify our faith,” the Pope said. “We are not able to do this on our own. But the Lord wants a loving relationship with us: Before the things we receive and do, there is Him to love. There is a relationship with Him that goes beyond the logic of interest and calculation.”

The Holy Father noted how we can have the same temptation in our human relationships.

When we seek first and foremost the satisfaction of our needs, we risk using people and exploiting situations for our own ends. … And a society that puts interests instead of people at its centre is a society that does not generate life. The Gospel’s invitation is this: Rather than being concerned only with the material bread that feeds us, let us welcome Jesus as the bread of life and, starting out from our friendship with Him, learn to love each other. Freely and without calculation. Love given freely and without calculation, without using people, freely, with generosity, with magnanimity.

After praying the midday Angelus, the Pope joked about the weather:

I wish you all a good Sunday and a peaceful month of August… Too hot, but may it be peaceful! Please do not forget to pray for me. 

Tags:
Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
2
Fr. Michael Rennier
The purpose of life according to J.R.R. Tolkien
3
crisis man
Marzena Devoud
Advice from 3 monks for overcoming acedia
4
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
5
Christ and the woman taken in adultery
Daniel Esparza
What Jesus wrote
6
Cathedral Duomo
Philip Kosloski
Will souls in Hell receive resurrected bodies?
7
FATHER KAPUAN
J-P Mauro
Fr. Kapaun’s remains returned to Kansas after 70 years
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.