On the solemnity of Pentecost Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit, rather than giving a new message, brings Jesus’ timeless teachings to life and helps us to both understand and live it throughout our lives.
“The Holy Spirit exercises a role of teaching and memory...the Holy Spirit doesn't bring a different teaching, but makes that of Jesus alive and active, so that the time that the passage of time does not erase it or make it fade,” the Pope said May 15.
“He grafts this teaching into our hearts, helps us to interiorize it, making it become part of us, flesh of our flesh,” the Pope continued, adding that at the same time, the Spirit “prepares the heart so that it is able to truly receive the words and example of the Lord.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his final Regina Coeli of the liturgical year, which he prayed after presiding over Mass for the solemnity of Pentecost inside the Basilica.
In his address, Francis told pilgrims that the day’s liturgy serves as a reminder to open our minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised to send to his disciples and is “the first and primary gift he has obtained for us with his Resurrection and Ascension into heaven.”
Jesus himself prayed for the Holy Spirit during the Last Supper when he told his disciples that “if you love me, keep my commandments; and I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
These words, the Pope said, remind us that both love for God and for other people “is not demonstrated with words, but with deeds.” He said that “to keep the commandments” ought to be understood in an existential sense “so that one's whole life is involved.”
To be a Christian, he said, “doesn't primarily mean to belong to a certain culture or to adhere to a certain doctrine, but rather to bind one's own life, in every aspect, to the person of Jesus and, through him, to the Father.”
Thanks to the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is “the love that unites the Father and the Son and who proceeds from them, all of us can life the same life as Jesus,” he said, adding that the Holy Spirit teaches us “the only essential thing: to love as God loved.”
When promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus refers to him as “another Counselor,” Francis observed, explaining that Jesus himself is the first.
The Spirit, then, is a Consoler, Advocate and Intercessor who “assists us, defends us, and is by our side on the path of life and in the fight for good and against evil.”
Francis closed his address by turning to Mary, and asked her intercession in obtaining for all “the grace of being strongly animated by the Holy Spirit in order to bear witness to Christ with evangelic frankness and open ourselves increasingly to the fullness of his love.”
After his speech, the Pope drew attention to the 90th World Missionary Day, which will be celebrated Oct. 23, 2016, and prayed that the Holy Spirit would give strength to all missionaries and support the mission of the Church throughout the world.
His message for the event, published May 15, is titled "Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy."