Curiosity can lead to dangerous paths, pope says

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VATICAN CITY — Although a healthy curiosity can lead to new discoveries, too much curiosity can open the door to dangerous things that harm the soul, Pope Francis said.

New technologies in the virtual world and innovations in communications such as cellphones can lead children to "find so many awful things" because "there isn't a discipline in that curiosity," the pope said in his homily April 30 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

"We must help young people to live in this world" so their desire to know may not become compulsive curiosity, which would make them "prisoners to this curiosity," he said.

The pope reflected on the day's Gospel reading in which one of the disciples asks Jesus how he will reveal himself to the world.

"I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name -- he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you," Jesus replies.

A healthy curiosity like that of the disciples, the pope said, begins at childhood and it is a "good curiosity because it is a curiosity that (helps a person) grow, develop and have more autonomy."

However, he said, there are other curiosities that develop later in life that are not so good, such as "sticking your nose into other people's lives."

"Some may say that (gossip) is a woman's thing. No, gossiping is a heritage of women and men. So much so that some say men gossip more than women," the pope said. "I don't know, but it is everyone's heritage; it is an awful thing because it means not allowing this curiosity to find the truth in a safe place. Instead, it is looking to go to places that in the end dirty other people."

To satisfy the disciples' curiosity, the pope explained, Jesus doesn't give them a complete answer but rather guarantees that the Holy Spirit will give them the answers bit by bit.

"The Holy Spirit doesn't come with a package full of certainty," Pope Francis said. Rather, people live their lives and as they ask the Holy Spirit's aid and open their hearts to him, "he gives us the certainty for that moment, the answer for that moment. The Holy Spirit is the companion, the traveling companion of a Christian," he said.

The Holy Spirit, he added, "enlightens us and leads us to a fixed happiness that doesn't move."

"Let us go to where there is true joy, the joy that is rooted in God, but with the Holy Spirit so that we won't make mistakes," Pope Francis said.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018