Pope cautions youth against “sickness of mirror”
Vatican City: Pope Francis has told young people to steer clear of modern society’s narcissistic tendencies, which he referred to as a vain “illness.” He said they should instead concentrate on helping others and on developing a healthy ability to laugh at oneself.
“This culture that we live in, which is very selfish, (always) looking at yourself, has a very strong dose of narcissism, (of) contemplating oneself and ignoring others,” the Pope said September 4.
In turn, narcissism “produces sadness, because you live worried about ‘dressing up’ your soul everyday to appear better than you are, contemplating to see if you are more beautiful than others.”
This is called “the sickness of the mirror,” he said, and told young people to “break the mirror; don’t look in the mirror, because the mirror deceives!”
Instead, “look outside, look at others. And if one day you want to look at yourself in the mirror, I will give you a mirror: look in the mirror to laugh at yourself.” Doing this, he added, “will refresh your soul.”
To know how to laugh at ourselves, he added, “gives us joy and saves us from the temptation of narcissism.”
Pope Francis spoke off-the-cuff in Spanish to members of the Catholic Shalom Community during an audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
The Community is an ecclesial movement founded in 1982 with a charism focused on contemplation, unity and evangelization. The group is on a Sept. 3-9 pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their foundation.
The Pope also spoke about the importance of the relationship between the elderly and young people. Talking directly to the older members of the community, he stressed the importance of dialogue with youth, telling them to “pass the torch, from the oldest to the youngest.”
“One of the challenges that the world asks of us today is the dialogue between youth and the elderly,” he said, telling participants that “I rely on your testimony” to carry this dialogue forward.
Elderly, he said, are not meant “to be kept in the closet, to be kept hidden,” but are rather “hoping that a youth comes and speaks to them.” And youth, he said, must take the dreams of the elderly and “redeem” them.
The elderly “have wisdom and they need (youth) to beat at their hearts for this wisdom,” Pope Francis said, adding that “this dialogue is a promise for the future. This dialogue helps us to continue going forward.
(Source: Catholic News Agency)