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General Audience, 31.05.2017

Catechesis of the Holy Father

Greetings in various languages

 

This morning’s General Audience took place at 9.20 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and all over the world.

In his address in Italian the Pope focused on the theme “The Holy Spirit makes us overflow with hope” (cf. Rm 15:13-14).

After summarising his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to the groups of faithful present.

The General Audience concluded with the recital of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

 

Catechesis of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

As we approach the Solemnity of Pentecost we cannot neglect to speak of the relationship between Christian hope and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the wind that drives us onwards, that keeps us on the path, that makes us feel we are pilgrims and strangers, that does not permit us to settle and to become a “sedentary” people.

The Letter to the Hebrews compares hope to an anchor (cfr. 6:18-19); and to this image we can add that of the sail. If the anchor is what gives the boat is security, keeping it “anchored” amid the waves of the sea, the sail is instead that which makes the boat move and advance on the waters. Hope is truly like a veil; it collects the wind of the Spirit and transforms it into the driving force pushing the boat, depending on the case, out to sea or to the shore.

The apostle Paul concludes his Letter to the Romans with this wish: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rm 15,13). Let us reflect on the content of these beautiful words.

The expression “God of Hope” does not mean only that God is the object of our hope, that is, Whom we wish to reach one day in eternal life; it also means that God is He Who already makes us hope, or rather makes us “joyful in hope” (Rm 12): joyful now to hope, and not only to hope to be joyful in the future, after death. “Where there is life, there is hope”, according to a popular saying; and it is true also in reverse: where there is hope, there is life. Men need hope to live, and they need the Holy Spirit to hope.

Saint Paul, we have heard, attributes to the Holy Spirit the capacity even of making us “abound in hope”. Abounding in hope means never being discouraged; it means hoping “against all hope” (Rm 4:18); that is, to hope even when there lacks any human reason to hope, as it was for Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, and as it was, even more so, for the Virgin Mary under Jesus’ cross.

The Holy Spirit makes this hope possible, giving us the inner witness that we are children of God and His heirs (cf. Rm 8:16). How could He Who gave his own only Son not give us every other thing along with Him? (cf Rm 8.32). “Hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (cf Rm 5:5).

The Holy Spirit does not only make us capable of hope, but also of being sowers of hope, of also being, like Him and thanks to Him, “Paracletes”, that is, consolers and defenders of our brothers. Blessed Cardinal Newman, in one of his discourses, said to the faithful, “Taught by our own pain, our own sorrow, nay, by our own sin, we shall have hearts and minds exercised for every service of love towards those who need it. We shall in our measure be comforters after the image of the Almighty Paraclete, and that in all senses of the word,—advocates, assistants, soothing aids. Our words and advice, our very manner, voice, and look, will be gentle and tranquillizing” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. V, London 1870, pp.300s). It is above all the poor, the excluded, those who are not beloved who are in need of someone to be their “Paraclete”, that is, consoler and defender.

The Holy Spirit nurtures hope not only in the heart of men, but also in all creation. The apostle Paul says that even creation “waits with eager longing” for liberation and groans and suffers as in the pain of childbirth (cf Rm 8:20-22). “The energy capable of moving the world is not an anonymous and blind force but the action of the ‘Spirit of God... moving over the face of the waters’ (Gn 1: 2) at the beginning of the Creation” (Benedict XVI, Homily, 31 May 2009). This too leads us to respect creation: one cannot besmirch a painting without offending the artist who created it.

Let the upcoming feast of Pentecost find us harmonious in prayer, with Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother. And may the gift of the Holy Spirit make us abound in hope.

Greetings in various languages

French

I am delighted to greet French-speaking pilgrims, especially the members of the Emmanuel Community and Pentecost Fraternity, as well as the faithful from France, Belgium and Cameroon. I greet the Benin pilgrims, with Bishop Mons. Vieira, and those of Gabon, with Bishop Mgr Ogbonna Managwu. With the Virgin Mary, we are united in prayer to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and abound in hope. The Holy Spirit also helps us to be sowers of hope. God bless you!

English

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, particularly the groups from England, Belgium, Norway, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Tahiti, Uganda, Canada and the United States of America. I also greet the pilgrims who have come to take part in the Vigil of Pentecost on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Upon all of you, and your families I invoke a rich outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God bless you all!

German

I am delighted to welcome German-speaking pilgrims, especially the young people from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. We need hope to live, and the Holy Spirit to hope for. We invoke the Paraclete Spirit, so that He may always guide us in hope and peace. May He accompany you on your way.

Spanish

I cordially greet Spanish-speaking pilgrims, particularly those who have come to participate in the Vigil of Pentecost on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, as well as the other groups from Spain and Latin America. I urge you to persevere in prayer, together with Mary, Our Mother, asking Jesus to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit overflowing in hope.

Portuguese

I cordially welcome all Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, particularly those from Angola, Sendim, Serrinha, Florianópolis and Minas Gerais. Dear friends, in these days of preparation for the Pentecost festival, we ask the Lord for an abundant outpouring of the gifts of His Spirit so that we can be witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Thank you for your presence.

Arabic

I cordially greet Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Iraq, Egypt and the Middle East. There is no life without hope, nor authentic hope without solid trust in God, the source and destination of every true hope. Let us ask the Holy Spirit, in this imminent Solemnity of Pentecost, to visit afflicted hearts so as to revive them; darkened minds so as to illuminate them; and to fill the life of every one of us to transform us into a flame of hope and true witnesses of His hope. May the Lord bless you all and protect you from the evil one.

Polish

I welcome Polish pilgrims. I greet young people who – as every year - gather in large numbers in Lednica many. Dear friends, the motto of your encounter is: “Go and love!” Mary guides you, having heard this call in her heart, went to Elizabeth to share the joy of her encounter with God and to take some concrete help to her. From that moment on, she is always on her way, visiting His children and taking them the Christ, His Son. The second patron of your encounter is Zacchaeus, whom I told you about during the World Youth Day in Krakow, encouraging you to have the courage to look for Jesus and to open the doors of your hearts to Him. Today, the Lord Jesus addresses to you the words He said to Zacchaeus: “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Lk. 19: 5). He wants to come to you to send you to your brothers, so that you may share your love. He knows this is not easy, and so He sends you the Holy Spirit, Who will fill you with His strength. Ask Him for courage. Ask Him to help you break down the walls that divide you and to make you able to understand each other, and to build the unity of all men. I entrust all of you gathered on the banks of Lake Lednica, at the baptismal fonts of Poland, to Mary, and I 0bless you with my heart.

Czech

I cordially greet the faithful of the Czech Republic, in particular the participants in the national pilgrimage guided by Cardinal Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague, on the occasion of the 75 th anniversary of the massacre of Lidice, by the Nazi regime. Dear friends, trustfully ask the intercession of the Holy Virgin, whom you venerate in the icon of Our Lady of Lidice. May she help you to be courageous witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ, even in moments of difficulty and hardship. I give you all my blessing.

Italian

I address a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the parish groups and associatios, in particular the Volunteer Donors of the State Police of Campania and the AICCOS of Molfetta, as well as the members of General Motors. May your visit to the Eternal City prepare each one of you to live intensely the Solemnity of Pentecost and the gift of the Spirit, the Consoler, support and nurture the virtue of hope.

I offer a special thought to the young, the sick and newlyweds. Dear young people, place above all else your search for God and His love; dear sick people, may the Paraclete be of help and comfort to you in moments of greatest need; and you, dear newlyweds, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, make your union deeper and more solid every day.