World’s #1 Catholic Store
Catholic Company
Free Shipping on 75
terms and conditions

Pope Francis (when he was Bergoglio) helping another cardinal catch his hat in the wind

7 Practical Life Lessons From Pope Francis

Oct 16, 2017 By Mary Kate

Pope Francis is a wellspring of practical and spiritual instruction in ways perhaps surprising and unlikely. Reading his words in The Name of God Is Mercy and The Church of Mercy (which you can find here) is helpful in illuminating the Pope as a man we can all relate to and learn from.

Here is a list of quotes from these books that can help us take a second look at some of our spiritual and mental practices.

1) On first reactions

"I am inclined never to trust my first reaction to an idea or to a proposal that is made to me. I never trust myself in part because my first reaction is usually wrong. I have learned to wait, to trust in the Lord, to ask for his help, so I can discern better and receive guidance." —Pope Francis

2) On envy

"Put aside envy. Talk with one another so that this desire to protect each other might grow in your hearts." —Pope Francis

3) On deepening your examination of conscience

"Shame is one of the graces that Saint Ignatius asks for during his confession of his sins before Christ crucified." —Pope Francis

4) On corrupt hearts (which are worse than sinful ones!)

"We do not become corrupt people overnight; it is a long slippery slope that cannot be identified simply as a series of sins. One can be a great sinner and never fall into corruption. I think for example of the figures of Zacchaeus, of Matthew, of the Samaritan women, of Nicodemus and of the good thief: their sinful hearts all had something that saved them from corruption. They were open to forgiveness, their hearts felt their own weakness, and that small opening allowed the strength of God to enter." —Pope Francis

5) On picking a virtue and getting to work

"The most striking fruit of Bergoglio’s conversion was his humility. Humility, as a religious virtue, is not some kind of personality trait. It was a mode of a behavior which Bergoglio chose to adopt, after prayerful reflection that this is what God required of him. That is not to suggest that it was fake but it was thought-through." —Paul Vallely talking about Pope Francis in the book Untying the Knots

6) On understanding mercy

"The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as of that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that this is a visceral love. It gushes forth from the depths naturally, full of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and mercy." —Pope Francis

7) On speaking simply in confession

"I greatly enjoy hearing children confess, because they are not abstract; they say what really happened. They make you smile. They are simple: they say what happened and they know what they did was wrong." —Pope Francis

What do you think of these words of Pope Francis?

Did it surprise you to hear shame spoken of as a grace—one that we can and should ask for in our examinations of conscience?

CATEGORIES: Catholic Living / Pope


Paul says
Mar 24 2018 1:33PM
That's right Pope Francis, catch em young, and a lifetime of fear, shame, guilt and self-loathing awaits. Should they still be practicing Catholics during the tricky adolescent years, they can expect to add suicidal ideation into the mix. This Church has certainly developed an efficient method of turning well adjusted individuals into screwed up, self-hating humans, commonly called Roman Catholics. I know, because I am one.
Hi Paul, we are sorry to hear that you think about the Catholic Church in such a negative way. No matter what bad experience you may have had, or what you have struggled with in your past, it does not change the fact that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ. This is simply a historical fact. In Scripture He promised that He would remain with the Church until the end of time. Jesus is God, so this promise had not and will not fail. Jesus distributes the sacraments through His Church, and these impart His divine life into the soul which prepares them for heaven. This is true regardless of the personal failings of any of the Church's ministers. Throughout the last 2,000 years of Church history there have been many bad times. We are currently living in one. The Catholic Church in America has suffered from a generation of terrible catechesis where many were not taught and did not learn their faith. As a result many left the Church being disillusioned. This may have been what happened to you, and it is not your fault. We encourage you to pray the rosary daily and ask Our Lady to shed light on this for you and to help you return to the Church and the sacraments.
Christine sparke says
Oct 17 2017 11:00AM
Seems so simple. Amen
Karen Machost says
Oct 17 2017 4:54AM
Father I am a born Catholic and lost my hearing when I was 14 years old. I am now 58 years old and I am having trouble going to confession. I have had this problem for 25 years and would really like to get back in to the church. I live in Pocahontas, Arkansas and the Catholic church here has a Priest that is a foreign priest and I can't understand him in confession. I recently heard that you have to go into a room and talk about things in your life and possible sins. How can I do this if I can't understand the priest talk? I do want to get back into church just don't see how. Karen
Hi Karen, we do not have a priest on staff to answer your questions. Your desire to return to the Sacraments is a good thing! The first thing to do would be to ask for Our Lady's help with resolving your issues with going to confession. Then look around at the Catholic Churches in your area that are within driving distance in order to find an English-speaking priest. It is very important to work hard to overcome every obstacle that stands in the way of having your soul cleansed by the Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and you have an advocate with the Blessed Virgin to help you do so!
Mary lou Trent jernigan says
Oct 16 2017 11:19PM
I loved all of them , they really made me stop and think, I appreciate the Pope so much for this and all the other work he does ????
Monica Reveles Chavez says
Oct 16 2017 4:20PM
Thank you for sharing these beautiful words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commentary by

Mary Kate Mary Kate

Mary Kate comes from a large Catholic family. A Charlotte, NC native and an Auburn graduate, she writes blog articles and works in product development for The Catholic Company.

Read More from Mary Kate