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 CNS Story:

POPE-CURIOSITY Nov-14-2013 (390 words) xxxi

Pope says purported visions of Mary can lead people away from God

(CNS/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Purported visions of Mary, if taken in the wrong spirit, can sow confusion and distance people from the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

Curiosities distance people "from the Gospel, from the Holy Spirit, from peace and hope, from God's glory and God's beauty," the pope said Nov. 14 during a homily at morning Mass in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives.

"Jesus says that the kingdom of God doesn't come in a way that attracts attention," the pope said, according to a report by Vatican Radio.

Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading from Luke (17:20-25), in which the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God will come.

Jesus answers that the "coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed," and tells his disciples not to "run in pursuit" of signs of his second coming.

"Curiosity pushes us to want to hear that the Lord is here or over there, or it makes us say, 'Well, I know a visionary who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady,'" the pope said. But Mary is "not a postmaster of the post office sending out messages every day."

"The kingdom of God is among us," he said. "Don't look for strange things, don't seek novelties with this worldly curiosity."

The spirit of curiosity is what makes people want to "take control of God's plans, of the future, of things, to know everything, take on everything," he said.

"The spirit of curiosity distances us from the spirit of wisdom because it's interested only in details, news, newsy tidbits of the everyday," and is always wondering how things will unfold.

This is the "spirit of dispersion, distancing from God, the spirit of talking too much," the pope said. "This spirit of curiosity, which is worldly, brings confusion."

But the "kingdom of God doesn't come with confusion," he said; it comes from the "action of the Holy Spirit, who gives us wisdom, who gives us peace."

God speaks to the prophets, not with a storm, he said, but with the soft and gentle "breeze of wisdom."

A true Christian lives in this spirit, "the spirit of God who helps us judge, make decisions in harmony with the heart of God," he said. "And this spirit always gives us peace. It's a spirit of peace, love and fraternity."


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