“Why are the saints so able to touch the heart?” he asked at the general audience Aug. 22. “Because in the saints we see what our heart deeply desires: authenticity, true relationships, radicalism.”
This example can also be found in those “saints next door,” he noted, such as parents who teach their children to live “coherent, simple, honest, and generous” lives.
Continuing his reflection on the Ten Commandments, Pope Francis spoke about respecting the name of the Lord. He also pointed out a deeper meaning of the commandment, which is the hypocrisy of “using” God’s name while not having a real relationship with him.
“One may ask: is it possible to take upon oneself the name of God hypocritically, as a formality, in a vacuum? The answer is unfortunately positive: yes, it is possible. One can live a false relationship with God,” he said.
Francis drew a comparison to the “doctors of the law” in the Bible, who spoke about God but did not do his will or did not have a relationship with him.
In Exodus, the expression “in vain” is used, meaning emptily or “uselessly,” he explained. This is a characteristic of hypocrisy or lying — using words or the name of God “without truth.”
Thus, the commandment to not use the name of the Lord in vain, is also an invitation “to a relationship with God without hypocrisy, to a relationship in which we entrust ourselves to him with all that we are,” he stated. “This is Christianity that touches hearts.”
He said if Christians all strive to take God’s name upon themselves “without falsehood … the Church’s proclamation is heard more and is more credible.” If the Word of God is spoken in unity with Christ, then it will not be “praying like a parrot,” but “praying with the heart, loving the Lord.”
“If our concrete life manifests the name of God, we see how beautiful baptism is and what a great gift the Eucharist is!” he said. “What a sublime union there is between our body and the Body of Christ, He in us and we in Him!”
Because Christ, through his suffering and death on the cross, has taken the sins of the world, each person’s names are “on the shoulders of Christ,” he said, encouraging Christians to take God’s name upon themselves.
“Anyone can invoke the holy name of the Lord, who is faithful and merciful love, in whatever situation he finds himself,” he concluded. “God will never say ‘no’ to a heart that sincerely invokes it.”
By Hannah Brockhaus/
Photo, Marina Testino/CNA: Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 20, 2017.