Catholic News Service photo
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1.
Catholic News Service photo
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1.
VATICAN CITY — The human heart is like a flea market of desires, and people need to know how to pick out the good from the bad, Pope Francis said.

"We must assess what is from the Lord and what isn't, if we're to remain in the Lord," the pope said in his homily Jan. 7 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

"Our heart is always filled with desires, wishes, thoughts," he said, according to Vatican Radio. "And many times our heart, with so many things that come and go, seems like an open-air market where there's everything, you can find everything there."

The pope commented on a reading from the First Letter of John (3:22-4:6), in which the apostle advises Christians to "test the sprits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

The pope said this test reveals whether a desire or feeling brings one closer to God or drives one further away.

The "simple" test involves reflecting on how Jesus lived his life: He became "lowly and was humiliated" with his death on the cross, the pope said.

"That is the path of Jesus Christ: lowering oneself, humility, even humiliation," he said. "If a thought, a desire brings you to this path of humility, of stooping, of serving others, then it belongs to Jesus. But if it takes you on the road of self-importance, vanity, pride, the path of thinking abstractly, then it doesn't belong to Jesus."

"That's why vigilance is necessary," Pope Francis said. "A Christian is a man or a woman who knows how to be vigilant over his or her heart" and always figure out what comes from God and what comes from the devil.