11/10/2021, 13.20
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Pope: The freedom of Christ is not self-sufficiency, but walking according to the Spirit

"Prayer to the Holy Spirit is spontaneous: it must come from your heart. You must say in moments of difficulty: 'Holy Spirit, come'. The key word is this: 'come'. But you have to say it with your language, with your words. Come, because I am in difficulty, come because I am in darkness, in the dark; come because I do not know what to do; come because I am about to fall. Come. Come."



Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Freedom for Christians "is in no way equivalent to libertinism, nor does it lead to forms of presumptuous self-sufficiency". The freedom brought by Christ, is "in the shadow of love" and has "its consistent exercise in the service of charity". In Paul 'all this vision was placed within the horizon of life according to the Holy Spirit, which brings to fulfilment the Law given by God'.

Coming at the end of the catechesis for the general audience dedicated to the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Galatians, Pope Francis stressed that Paul shows that the freedom brought by Christ "freed them from every form of slavery, because it made them heirs of the ancient promise and, in Christ, children of God".

"All this vision was placed in the horizon of life according to the Holy Spirit, which brings to fulfilment the Law given by God to Israel and prevents them from falling back into the slavery of sin. The temptation," he added, "is always to turn back. A definition of Christians, which is in Scripture, says that we Christians are not people who go backwards, who turn back. This is a beautiful definition. And the temptation is to go backwards in order to be safer; to return only to the Law, neglecting the new life of the Spirit. This is what Paul teaches us: the true Law has its fullness in this life of the Spirit that Jesus has given us. And this life of the Spirit can only be lived in freedom, Christian freedom. This is one of the most beautiful things".

At the end of this itinerary of catechesis," he told the eight thousand people present in the Paul VI Hall, "it seems to me that a twofold attitude can arise in us. On the one hand, the Apostle's teaching generates enthusiasm in us; we feel impelled to immediately follow the path of freedom, to 'walk according to the Spirit'. On the other hand, we are aware of our limitations, because we experience every day how difficult it is to be docile to the Spirit, to follow his beneficial action. Then fatigue can set in and dampen enthusiasm. We feel discouraged, weak, at times marginalised in relation to the lifestyle of the worldly mentality".

The Pope recalled that, in this regard, St Augustine invites us to follow the example of the Apostles when they were in a boat with Jesus sleeping and the storm broke out. "Saint Augustine, referring to the Gospel episode of the storm on the lake, suggests that we react in this situation. This is what he says: “The faith of Christ in your heart is like Christ in the boat. You hear insults, you wear yourself out, you are upset, and Christ sleeps. Wake Christ up, rouse your faith! Even in tribulation you can do something. Rouse your faith. Christ awakes and speaks to you… Therefore, wake Christ up… Believe what has been said, and there will be tremendous calm in your heart” (Sermon 63). It is exactly like this. We must rouse Christ in our hearts and only then will we be able to contemplate things with his eyes for He sees beyond the storm. Through that serene gaze, we can see a panorama that on our own is not even conceivable. In this challenging but captivating journey, the Apostle reminds us that we cannot let ourselves tire when it comes to doing good. We must trust that the Spirit always comes to assist us in our weakness and grants us the support we need. Let us, therefore, invoke the Holy Spirit more often! We can do this with simple words at various moments during the day. And we can carry with us, perhaps inside the Gospel in our pocket, the beautiful prayer the Church recites on Pentecost: “Come Holy Spirit, come / And from your celestial home / Shed a ray of light divine! / Come, Father of the poor! / Come, Source of all our store! / Come, within our bosoms shine! / You, of comforters the best; / You the soul’s most welcome Guest; / Sweet refreshment…” And so it continues, it is a very beautiful prayer. It would be good for us to pray it often. It will help us walk in the Spirit, in freedom and in joy."

In his greetings to the groups present, addressing the English and then the Portuguese he said that "the month of November reminds us of the eternal destiny that awaits us; and it does so in many ways, one of which is the nostalgic remembrance of our deceased loved ones. They left us one day with a request, tacit or explicit, for our spiritual help in their crossing to the Hereafter; as you know, our hands in prayer reach up to Heaven, and so we can accompany them there, strengthening in them and in ourselves the bonds that bind us to eternity".

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