Pope Francis has revealed that he prays to the English martyr St Thomas More every day.
In his annual end of year address to Vatican officials the Pope said that there is a prayer to the saint for good humour which he prays daily, saying that a healthy dose of humour in our daily lives is very beneficial.
Pope Francis also outlined “15 diseases of the Curia” which included the diseases of mental and spiritual petrification; existential schizophrenia; spiritual Alzheimer’s and the disease of the “funeral face,” reports Vatican News.
The Pope said that “spiritual petrification” was when men “lose their internal peace, their vivacity and audacity, choosing to hide under papers and become procedural machines.
He also described “existential schizophrenia” as the disease of “those who live a double life” and endure a “spiritual emptiness” which cannot be filled with degrees or academic titles.
He explained to diplomats that “spiritual Alzheimers” was a “progressive decline of spiritual faculties” which “causes severe disadvantages to people”, making them live in a “state of absolute dependence” on their, often imagined, views.
The Pope also appealed to the officials not to give into gossip describing the sin as a form of “satanic assasination” of other people’s good name.
According to Catholic News Service, Pope Francis began his addresss by saying that he hoped that the occasion would be an examination of conscience and he continued by reminding them that their first priority should be contact with Christ rather than mere bureacuratic duties.
The Thomas More prayer for good humour begins: “Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.”
It continues: “Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called ‘I.’ Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others.”