Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) – The action that the Holy Spirit carries out, in guiding the Church and within each of us, was the theme chosen by Pope Francis for his catechesis in today’s general audience, with Pentecost drawing near.
“We are living in an age when we are rather sceptical regarding truth,” the Holy Father said to the over 75,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Benedict XVI spoke many times about relativism, that is, the tendency to believe that there is nothing definitive and to think that truth comes from consensus or from what we desire. … What comes to my mind here is … Pontius Pilate’s question when Jesus reveals to him the profound meaning of his mission: ‘What is truth?’ Pilate is unable to understand that ‘the’ Truth is in front of him, he is unable to see, in Jesus, the face of truth, which is the face of God. … You cannot grasp truth as if it were a thing; it is encountered. It isn’t a possession; it is an encounter with a Person.”
“But who can make us recognize that Jesus is ‘the’ Word of truth, the only begotten Son of God the Father? St. Paul teaches us that ‘no one can say, “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit. Jesus calls him the ‘Paraclete’, that is, ‘He who comes to our assistance’, who is at our side to sustain us in this journey of knowledge.”
So, what then is the Holy Spirit’s action? “In the first place, He recalls and seals upon believers’ hearts the words that Jesus said and, precisely through those words, God’s law … is inscribed upon our hearts and becomes, in us, the principle of judgement in our choices and of guidance in our everyday actions. It becomes the principle of life.”
The Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised, “’guides us to all truth’. He guides us not only to the encounter with Jesus, the fullness of Truth, but He guides us ‘within’ Truth, that is, makes us to enter into an ever deeper communion with Jesus, giving us knowledge of the things of God. … The Church’s tradition affirms that the Spirit of truth acts in our hearts, arousing that ‘sense of the faith’ (sensus fidei) through which, as Vatican Council II states, the People of God, under the guidance of the Magisterium, unfailingly adheres to the faith that is bequeathed, deepening it with right judgement and applying it more fully in their lives. Let us ask ourselves: ‘Am I open to the Holy Spirit’s action, do I pray him to give me light, to make me more sensitive to the things of God?’”
“This is a prayer that we need to say every day: ‘Holy Spirit, make my heart open to God’s Word so that my heart might be open to good, so that my heart might be open to God’s beauty every day.’ Let me ask you: how many of you pray to the Holy Spirit every day? It will be few of you, but we must satisfy this desire for Jesus and pray every day to the Holy Spirit that He might open our hearts to Jesus.”
“Embracing the words and the truths of faith so that they might become life takes place and grows with the action of the Holy Spirit. In this sense it is helpful to learn from Mary, to relive her ‘yes’, her total openness to receiving the Son of God in her life, which was transformed from that moment. Through the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son come to reside in us: we live in God and of God.”
“We have to let ourselves be flooded by the Holy Spirit’s light, because He introduces us to the Truth of God, who is the only Lord of our life. In this Year of Faith, let us ask ourselves if we have concretely taken some steps to know Christ and the truth of faith more. .. At the same time let us also ask what steps we are taking so that faith might guide our entire existence. You cannot be a ‘part time’ Christian, [a Christian] in some moments, under some circumstances, for certain decisions. You are a Christian in every moment! The truth of Christ, which the Holy Spirit teaches and gives us, involves, for always and entirely, our daily life. Let us call upon him more often. Let me make this proposition to you: let us call upon the Holy Spirit every day so that He will bring us closer to Jesus Christ,” the Pope concluded.
In his greetings to the groups from different languages, the Pope addressed Polish pilgrims from Szczecin, members of the Christian Civitas Association that had organized a March for Life there. “This initiative reminds everyone,” the pontiff said, “of the necessity of promoting and defending human life from its conception until its natural end.” He also spoke to the Italian students, particularly those from Catholic schools, noting that “Catholic schools constitute an invaluable reality for all of society, above all for the educational service they undertake in collaboration with families. It is good that their role be recognized properly.”