VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gift of the Holy Spirit gives Christians the grace they need to conduct themselves as children of God and brothers and sisters to each other, Pope Francis said on Pentecost.

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, Christians are freed from “the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen” because of sin, the pope said May 15 during Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“We were made to be God’s children,” he said. “It is in our DNA.”


Looking around, the pope said, one can see signs of how many people really do feel like orphans: feeling alone and sad even when surrounded by people; trying to free oneself from God; “spiritual illiteracy,” which makes people incapable of praying; and in the difficulty people have in seeing others as brothers and sisters, children of the same God.

“Strengthening our relationship of belonging to the Lord Jesus, the Spirit enables us to enter into a new experience of fraternity,” Pope Francis said. “By means of our universal brother — Jesus — we can relate to one another in a new way; no longer as orphans, but rather as children of the same good and merciful Father. And this changes everything!”

Reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer afterward with visitors in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis focused on how the grace of the Holy Spirit helps Christians concretely live out their love for God and for others.

“Love for a person, including for the Lord, is demonstrated not with words, but with actions,” he said. When Jesus tells his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” he is telling them that their entire lives should reflect that love.

“Being Christian is not principally about belonging to a certain culture or adhering to a certain doctrine, but rather binding your life, in every aspect, to the person of Jesus and, through him, to the Father,” Pope Francis said.