"The Spirit chooses the small, always", Francis said. “It cannot enter the big, the proud, the self-sufficient". Theologians "know everything, but are incapable of doing theology because theology is done on the knees, becoming small.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – God’s redemption, revelation, and presence in the world are achieved in smallness because "the Spirit chooses what is small, always" since “it cannot enter the big, the proud, the self-sufficient,” said Pope Francis in his homily in the Mass he celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
The pontiff took his inspiration from today’s first reading, in which the Prophet Isaiah announces “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom”. Indeed, “Today's liturgy speaks of small things, speaks of what is small”. Thus, “We can say that today is the day of the small.”
"God's revelation is done in smallness. Smallness, both humility and . . . many things, but in smallness. The great appear powerful, we think of the temptation of Jesus in the desert, as Satan presents himself as a powerful master of the whole world: ‘I give you everything, if you . . .’. Instead God’s things start to sprout from a seed, a small one. Jesus speaks of smallness in the Gospel.” He rejoices and thanks the Father for he revealed himself to the meek, not the powerful.
"In a Christian community where the faithful, priests, bishops do not take this path of smallness, there is no future, but collapse. We have seen it in the great projects of history: Christians who tried to impose themselves, with power, grandeur, conquests ... The Kingdom of God sprouts small, always small, the small seed, the seed of life. But the seed cannot do it alone. There is another thing that helps and gives it strength.” On that day, “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him”.
Theologians “are not those who know many things about theology". The latter could be called "encyclopedists" of theology. “They know everything, but they are incapable of doing theology because theology is done kneeling, making us small.” Hence, “true pastors, be they a priest, a bishop, a pope, a cardinal, whomever, if he does not become small, he is not a pastor.” This applies to everyone, "From those who have what seems to be most important function in the Church, to the poor old lady who is secretly involved in charity work.”
For the pontiff, “Smallness is great; it is the ability to risk because there is nothing to lose. It is precisely smallness that leads to magnanimity, because it enables us to go beyond ourselves knowing that it is God who gives greatness.
“In his Summa Theologica, Saint Thomas Aquinas explains how Christians who feel small should behave, faced with the challenges of the world, who feels small, so as not to live like a coward. Saint Thomas says in a few words: ‘Do not be frightened of big things. Saint Francis Xavier proves it today. Do not be frightened, go forward. At the same time though, taking into account the smallest things is divine’.”
“A Christian always starts from smallness. If I feel small in my prayer, with my limitations, my sins, like the tax collector who prayed at the back of the church, ashamed – ‘Have pity on me who am a sinner,’ you will go forward. But if you think you are a good Christian, you will pray like that Pharisee who did not come out justified: ‘I give you thanks God, because I am great." No, we thank God because we are small.’”
Francis ended by saying that he likes to confess, children above everyone else. “Their confessions, he said, are beautiful, because they tell the facts as they are. ‘I said this word’, for example, and he repeats it to you. The concreteness of what is small. 'Lord, I am a sinner because I do this, this, this, and this . . . This is my trouble, my smallness. But send me your Spirit so that I may not be afraid of great things, afraid that you will do great things in my life.”