Love breaks chains of slavery to sin, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Only true love for God and neighbor
can destroy the chains of greed, lust, anger and envy that enslave humankind,
Pope Francis said.

“True love is true freedom: It detaches from
possession, rebuilds relationships, it knows how to welcome and value the
neighbor, it transforms every struggle into a joyous gift and makes communion
possible,” the pope said Sept. 12 during his weekly general audience.

Before addressing thousands of men, women and children, the
pope made his way around St. Peter’s Square and greeted excited pilgrims lined
up along the popemobile route.

While making his rounds, the pope abruptly ordered his
driver to stop. He made his way to two disabled children and blessed them. The mother of one of the
children, overcome with emotion, reverently kissed Pope Francis’ hand before he
boarded the popemobile.  

Continuing his series of talks on the Ten Commandments, the
pope reflected on the Third
“Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”

commandment to rest on the Sabbath was linked to the memory of Israel’s freedom
from slavery in Egypt, he said, because slaves “by definition cannot rest.”

“There are many types of slavery, both exterior and
interior,” the pope said. “There are external constraints such as
lives sequestered by violence and other types of injustice. There are also
interior prisons that are, for example, psychological blocks, complexes,
limitations and more.”

Recalling the lives of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Cardinal
Francois Nguyen Van Thuan, both of whom “turned dark oppressions into
places of light,” the pope said their example proved that people who are
physically or mentally imprisoned “can remain free.”

Nevertheless, he also warned that slavery to one’s ego can
tie men and women down “more than a prison, more than a panic attack and
more than any sort of imposition.”

The pope explained that the “deadly sins,” such as greed, lust,
gluttony and sloth can turn people into slaves of their own passions, while
others such as anger ruin
relationships and envy can sicken a person like a disease.

“Some writers say that envy turns the body and soul
yellow, just like when a person who has hepatitis turns yellow,” he said.
“The souls of envious people are yellow because they can never have the
freshness of a healthy soul.”

Pope Francis said that through his death and resurrection,
Christ overcame “the slavery of our heart with his love and
salvation” and guides Christians toward true freedom where every person
“can find rest in mercy and freedom in truth.”

“True love frees us even in prison, even if we are weak
and limited,” Pope Francis said. “This is the freedom that we receive
from our redeemer,
our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– – –

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article