Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The gift of "piety", inspired by the Holy Spirit, is not to be confused with the "pietism" or "compassion" towards someone, but it is the sign of our profound, filial belonging to God , which is translated into gratuitous love and joy to be poured out on others. This is what Pope Francis said today, dedicating his catechesis during the general audience to the illustration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
"Today - he told about 50 thousand people present in St Peter's Square - we want to dwell on a gift of the Holy Spirit that is so often misunderstood or superficially understood, but which touches the heart of our Christian identity and our life: this is the gift of piety. It should immediately be made clear - he continued - that this gift is not to be identified with having compassion for someone, having pity for people, rather it indicates that we belong to God. This relationship with the Lord is not intended as a duty or imposition, it is a bond that comes from within. Instead, it is a living relationship with the heart: it is our friendship with God, given to us by Jesus, a friendship that changes our lives and fills us with enthusiasm, joy. For this reason, the gift of piety firstly awakens in us gratitude and praise. This in fact is the reason, and the truest meaning of our worship and our adoration. When the Holy Spirit makes us feel the presence of the Lord and all His love for us, it warms the heart and moves us quite naturally to prayer and celebration. Piety, therefore, is synonymous with authentic religious spirit, with filial trust in God, the ability to pray with love and simplicity that is typical of people who are humble of heart".
"If the gift of piety makes us grow in relationship and communion with God and leads us to live as his children, at the same time it helps us to pour out this love on the others and recognize them as brothers and sisters. And then, yes, we will be moved by feelings piety - not pietism! - towards those around us and those we meet every day. Piety and not pietism, because some people think that having compassion is closing your eyes, making the right face , as well , no? and also pretending to be a saint, right? But that's not the gift of piety". " No, this is not the gift of piety".
"We really will able to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, to be close to those who are lonely or anxious, to correct those who are in error, to comfort those who are afflicted, to welcome and help those in need".
"There is a very, very close relationship between piety and gentleness: the gift of mercy that the Holy Spirit gives us and that makes us meek, makes us calm, patient, at peace with God in the service of others with gentleness".
"Let us ask the Lord - concluded the Pope Francis - for this gift of His Spirit so we can overcome our fears, our uncertainties, including our restless, impatient Spirit, and so we can be joyful witnesses of God and of His love, worshiping the Lord in truth and also in the service of others, with meekness and also with a smile that always the Holy Spirit gives us in joy. May the Holy Spirit give us all the gift of piety".