Vatican City, Aug 1, 2018 / 04:52 am (CNA/EWTN News).- When a person puts an object or a philosophy above God, it not only destroys happiness, it hinders the ability to experience real love, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
“Attachment to an object or an idea makes us blind to love. Carry this in your heart: idols rob us of love, idols make us blind to love; and to truly love we must be free from every idol…” the pope said Aug. 1.
“In fact, love is incompatible with idolatry: if something becomes absolute and untouchable, then it is more important than a spouse, a child, or a friendship.”
The pope resumed his Wednesday general audiences after a break for the month of July, commenting on the first commandment: “You shall not have other gods beside me.”
To reflect on the theme of idolatry has great relevance for today, Pope Francis said. “We Christians can ask ourselves: what is really my God?” he said, pointing out the idolatries of palm reading and Tarot cards, vanity, money, and drugs.
Idols “promise happiness but do not give it; and we find ourselves living for that thing or that vision, caught in a self-destructive whirlwind, waiting for a result that never comes.”
The temptation to turn things into false gods is something all people can fall prey to, whether religious or not, he stated.
He said that often, idolatry can take the form of wanting to know the future, instead of relying on prayer and trust in the providence of God. “The true God teaches us to live in the reality of every day, concretely, not with illusions about the future,” he said.
The pope described three phases for how something may become an idol in someone’s life: the first step is fixation or obsession with some object or some goal as a means of “achieving… my essential needs.”
In the second phase, “we prostrate ourselves and sacrifice everything,” he said, and in the third we become enslaved.
Idols are not innocent attachments, he said, they “ask for blood;” money steals one’s life and pleasure ultimately leads to loneliness.
“I invite you to think today, how many idols do I have or what is my favorite idol?” he asked. “Because recognizing one’s idolatries is a beginning of grace; and puts [us] on the path of love.”