February 3, 2014

A heart hardened by anger and resentment is worse than eating humble pie and reaching out to enemies to seek peace, Pope Francis said.

“Worse than trying to build a bridge (of understanding) with an adversary is to let the heart swell with rancor toward him,” he said Jan. 24 during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

Holding onto one’s hatred and anger, instead of taking the first step toward peace, only renders people “isolated in this bitter broth of our resentment,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

When someone is wronged or faces an enemy, one option might be retaliation or revenge, Pope Francis said.

But the Christian response is to choose the path of dialogue, he said, which requires humility, meekness and becoming all things to all people.

One thing the Bible doesn’t mention is that “to do all this, you need to swallow a lot of ‘toads,’” that is, the bitter pill of humiliation, he said.

“But we have to do it because that’s how peace is made – with humility, humiliation, always trying to see the face of God in the other,” he said.

Taking the first step toward dialogue and stooping low to begin building a bridge of understanding is not easy, he said.