VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit if they expect to live a Christian life, Pope Francis said.

Only through the Spirit can men and women “rise from our limitations, from our deaths,” the pope said in his homily April 30 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“A Christian life — or a person who calls himself or herself a Christian — that does not leave space for the Spirit and does not allow the Spirit to go forward is a pagan life, dressed as a Christian one,” he said.

The pope centered his homily on the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about the need to be “born of the Spirit.”

Listening to and understanding God’s will through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, is similar to hearing the sound of wind blowing, yet “you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”

Jesus’ message to Nicodemus, the pope explained, is that “we need to be reborn” and “give way to the Spirit.”

“The Spirit is the protagonist of Christian life; (it is) the Spirit — the Holy Spirit — that is in us, that accompanies us, that transforms us and is triumphant within us,” he said.

Pope Francis encouraged Christians to heed Christ’s words to his disciples after his resurrection and “receive the Holy Spirit” who will “be your companion in Christian life.”

“Let us ask the Lord,” the pope said, “to give us this knowledge that we cannot be Christians without walking with the Holy Spirit, without acting with the Holy Spirit, without letting the Holy Spirit be the protagonist in our lives.”