Pope Francis on Wednesday issued a strong admonishment against the vice of lust, urging followers to embrace the purity of love.
Continuing his catechesis series on virtues and vices, the Pope emphasized the importance of recognizing and resisting the dangers of lust, which he described as a vice that enslaves rather than embraces.
The pontiff acknowledged that falling in love is “one of the purest feelings,” emphasizing that Christian doctrine does not condemn the sexual instinct in itself.
He noted that love, when not tainted by vice, is “unconditional, beyond reason,” describing it as a powerful force that may initially be “a little naive at first” but requires “patience.”
However, the Holy Father warned that the “garden” of love is not immune to evil and can be defiled by the demon of lust.
He highlighted two reasons why lust is particularly dangerous – it destroys relationships between individuals and robs them of their freedom.
Lust, the Pope explained, mocks and plunders the beauty of pure, innocent love, involving both the body and the psyche.
He cautioned, “If not disciplined with patience, if not inscribed in a relationship and in a story where two individuals transform it into a loving dance, it turns into a chain that deprives human beings of freedom.”
Pope Francis emphasized that lust opposes the beauty of the love that God has implanted in human hearts and called them to cultivate, especially through the responsible use of sexuality.
This powerful vice poisons the purity of love, transforming it from “a chaste, patient, and generous acceptance of another person in all the mysterious richness of his or her being” into “an egotistic desire for possession and immediate satisfaction.”
The Pope acknowledged that winning the battle against lust can be “a lifelong endeavor,” but he stressed that the prize is preserving the beauty that God intended in His creation.
He emphasized the importance of building a story together, cultivating tenderness, and serving one another instead of succumbing to the demon of possession.
Pope Francis prayed that hearts would always “treasure the beauty of love, which shares in the mystery of God’s own unconditional love for us.”
He urged followers to recognize the importance of love in preventing loneliness and concluded by saying, “Because if there is no love, life is lonely.”