11/15/2006, 00.00
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Pope: Spirit pushes Christians towards love, communion and hope

At the general audience, Benedict XVI illustrated the teachings of Paul about the third person of the Trinity, who does not only urge mission and communion but moves in the innermost personality of Christians.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Prompting Christians towards mission, urging communion and love for one another: these are some of the manifestations of the works of the Spirit, who however also moves in the personality of the believer. The third person of the Trinity, "soul of our soul", orients our life "towards the great values of love, joy, communion and hope… It is up to us to experience it every day, going along with interior prompting". The Holy Spirit, illustrated in St Paul, was the theme of today's speech by Benedict XVI to around 25,000 people present in St Peter's square for the general audience.

Addressing the festive crowd on a splendid, sunny morning, the pope, for the third week, spoke about Paul, describing him as a "a giant not only on the level of concrete apostolate but also on the level of theological doctrine, extraordinarily profound and stimulating."

Today, Benedict XVI dwelt on reflections on the Holy Spirit from the Apostle to the Nations. He said: "We know what St Luke tells us in the Acts of the Apostles when he describes the event of Pentecost: 'the Pentecostal spirit brings with it a driving force to take on the mission of testifying to the gospel on the streets of the world.'" Recalling that the acts narrate a series of missions undertaken by the apostles and especially the three great missionary voyages by Paul, the pope said: "However Paul, in his letter, speaks to us about the Spirit also from another angle. He does not stop at illustrating merely the dynamic dimension, the workings of the third person of the Trinity, he analyses its presence in the life of the Christian, whose identity is henceforth marked. In other words, Paul speaks to us about the Holy Spirit, exposing the Spirit's influence not only on Christian behaviour but also on our very being. In fact, for Paul, the spirit of God lives in us and God has sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts. For Paul, then, the Spirit leaves its mark in our innermost depths."

The pope continued: "It can be seen that the Christian, even before acting, already has a rich and fecund interiority bestowed by the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, interiority established in an objective and unique relationship of sonhood with God. And this is our great dignity, not being just an image, but children of God." This is an invitation "to live out our sonhood, to be always more aware that we are adoptive children of God's great family, an invitation to transform this objective gift into subjective reality, basing upon it our thinking, acting and being."

Paul teaches another important thing: there is no true prayer without the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. In his Letter to the Romans, he says: "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought." "And how true it is that we don't know how to talk to God," said Benedict XVI, adding that when St Paul says "the Spirit intercedes for us, prays for us", "it is as if to say that the Spirit is like the soul of our soul, the most secret part of our being from where a stirring of prayer incessantly rises to God, of which we cannot even understand the language."

Benedict XVI then drew attention to a further aspect of the workings of the Spirit, recalling that in 'Deus Caritas Est', he had quoted St Augustine: if you see Caritas, you see Trinitas. "I continued to explain that the spirit is that interior power that harmonises our heart with that of Christ and wants us to love our brothers as He loved them. It puts us in the same rhythm of divine life that is the life of love, making us participants of the existing relationship between the Father and the Son. It is not without significance that Paul puts love first when listing the fruits of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace."

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