In his general audience on October 5, 2022, Pope Francis quoted from the Ave Maria Press book Weeds Among the Wheat by Thomas H. Green, SJ.

The Holy Father was discussing self-knowledge, part of an ongoing series on discernment. He said:

“Underlying spiritual doubts and vocational crises, there is — not infrequently — insufficient dialogue between religious life and our human, cognitive and affective dimension. A writer on spirituality noted how many difficulties on the theme of discernment are indicative of problems of another kind, that should be recognized and explored. This author writes: ‘I have come to the conviction that the greatest obstacle to true discernment (and to real growth in prayer) is not the intangible nature of God, but the fact that we do not know ourselves sufficiently, and do not even want to know ourselves as we really are. Almost all of us hide behind a mask, not only in front of others, but also when we look in the mirror’ (cf. Thomas H. Green, Weeds Among the Wheat, 1984). We all have the temptation to wear a mask, even in front of ourselves.”

In the book, Green—who died in 2009—engages discernment with both wisdom and common sense, showing that it is a function of an individual’s personal relationship with God.

Green was an internationally recognized teacher, spiritual director, and author, best known for his classic works on prayer. Four of his books are still in print from Ave Maria Press.

To read the entire catechesis from Pope Francis or to watch the video, see the Vatican’s website.