Vatican Radio is reporting on the sermon about vanity which was based on the Book of Ecclesiastes and Jesus' exhortations to pray and do our good deeds in hiding.
“But the vain man [says]: ‘Look, I’m giving this check for the work of the Church’ and he shows the check; then he scams the Church from the other direction," the Pope said.
"But this is what makes the vain man: he lives for appearances. ‘When you fast,’ the Lord says to this, ‘please do not be melancholy, sad, so that everyone will notice that you’re fasting. No, fast with joy; do penance with joy, so that no one will notice.’ This is vanity: it is living for appearances, living to be seen. Christians who live that way, for appearances, for vanity, seem like peacocks, they strut about like peacocks.”
Instead of telling people you're a Christian by boasting about being related to this or that priest or bishop or sister, they need to ask themselves far more probing questions such as: "What about your life with the Lord? How do you pray? Your life in the works of mercy, how’s that going? Do you visit the sick? Reality,” the pope suggested.
Vain Christians don't build their house on rock - the truth - but on sand which is why that Christian house will fall because they are unable to resist temptation.
“How many Christians live for appearances?" he continued. "Their life seems like a soap bubble. The soap bubble is beautiful, with all its colors! But it lasts only a second, and then what? Even when we look at some funeral monuments, we feel it’s vanity, because the truth is returning to the bare earth, as the Servant of God Paul VI said."
Vanity “sows wicked anxiety, takes away peace. It’s like those who put on too much make-up, and then are afraid the rain will come and all that make-up will come streaming down.”
Calling vanity a “particularly grave spiritual illness”, the pope ended his sermon with a call for prayer.
"Let us ask the Lord for the grace to not be vain, to be true, with the truth of reality and of the Gospel.”
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