Rancor Is Poison to Soul, Says Pope

Urges Faithful on Holy Thursday to Forgive

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ROME, MARCH 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Don't allow the soul to be poisoned by rancor, Benedict XVI urged the faithful at the Mass of the Lord's Supper



During this evening's Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Pope reflected on the need for interior purification as a condition to live in communion with God and with each other.

"This is what Holy Thursday exhorts," he said, "do not let rancor toward others become poison for the soul. It exhorts us to continually purify our memory, forgiving each other from the heart, washing one another's feet, so as to be able to go all together toward the banquet of God.

"Day after day we are covered by numerous forms of filth, of empty words, prejudices, reduced and altered wisdom; a multiplicity of falsities filter in continuously to our most intimate being.

"All this obscures and contaminates our soul, it threatens us with being incompetence with regard to the truth or the good."

The Holy Father said Christ synthesized charity and purification with the gesture of washing the feet of his disciples.

"If we take the words of Jesus with an attentive heart, they become true cleansers, purifiers of the soul, of the interior of man," the Pontiff said. "This is what the Gospel of the washing of the feet invites us to: allow ourselves to be washed again with this pure water, to be capable of communion with God and with our brothers and sisters."

To the end

"Not only water, but blood also flowed from the side of Jesus after the soldier pierced him with his sword. Jesus didn't only speak, he didn't just leave us with words," Benedict XVI continued. "He surrendered himself. He washes us with the sacred power of his blood, that is to say, with his surrender 'until the end,' until the cross.

"His word is something more than simple speaking; it is flesh and blood 'for the life of the world.' In the holy sacraments, the Lord kneels down again before our feet and he purifies us. Let us ask him that we become ever more penetrated by the sacred washing of his love and in this way remain truly purified."

The Pope added, "We have a need for 'the washing of the feet,' the washing of the sins of each day, and for this reason, we need to confess our sins.

"We have to recognize that also in our new identity as baptized persons we sin. We have the need of confession just as it has taken shape in the sacrament of reconciliation.

"In it, the Lord washes always anew our soiled feet and we can sit down at the table with him."

During the liturgy, the Holy Father washed the feet of a dozen priests, and during the presentation of the gifts, the Pontiff was presented a monetary offering that will be sent to the orphanage "La Edad De Oro" (The Golden Age) in Havana.

With the Mass of the Lord's Supper, Benedict XVI began the Easter triduum that commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On Good Friday the Holy Father will participate in the celebration of the Passion of the Lord in St. Peter's Basilica, and in the evening, will preside over the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum.