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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Regina Caeli to prepare for the Holy Spirit

At noon today, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Caeli with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the usual Sunday appointment.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Caeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's gospel takes us to the Upper Room.  During the Last Supper, before facing his passion and death on the cross, Jesus promises the Apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will have the task of teaching and remembering his words to the community of disciples.  Jesus himself says to them: The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit who the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have told you (Jn 14:26).  To teach and to remind.  This is why the Holy Spirit is placed in our hearts.

At the moment when he was preparing to return to the Father, Jesus proclaims the coming of the Holy Spirit who will teach the disciples to understand the gospel even more fully, to accept it in their lives and to bring it alive and allow it to work through their witness.  While he was going to entrust to the Apostles - a word which itself means sent - the mission of proclaiming the gospel to all the world, Jesus promises that they will not be alone: the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete will be with them, right beside them, to defend them and to support them.  Jesus returns to the Father but continues to accompany and teach his disciples through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The second aspect of the Holy Spirit's mission consists in helping the Apostles to remember the words of Jesus.  The Spirit has the task of awakening our memories, recalling the words of Jesus.  The divine Master has already communicated all that he intended to confide to the Apostles: with Him, the Word incarnate, revelation is complete.  The Spirit will recall the teachings of Jesus in various concrete circumstances of our lives, so that we can put them into practice.  This is precisely what is happening today in the Church, guided by the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can bring the gift of salvation to all people: the love and mercy of God.  For example, when you read every day - as I taught you - a passage, a few words of the gospel, ask the Holy Spirit: Help me to understand and to remember these words of Jesus.  Then read the passage, every day ... But before you read, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit who is in your heart: Help me to remember and to understand.

We are not alone: Jesus is close to us, among us, within us!  His new presence in history takes place through the gift of the Holy Spirit, through whom it is possible to establish a living relationship with Him, the Crucified and Risen One.  The Spirit, who is poured out in us through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, is active in our lives.  He guides us in the way we think and act; he helps us to distinguish between good and evil things; he helps us to practice charity like Jesus did, giving of ourselves to others, especially those who are in need.

We are not alone!  The sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit is also the peace that Jesus gives to his disciples: I give you my peace (Jn 14:27).  This gift is different from anything that humanity is hoping for or trying to attain.  The peace of Jesus arises from his victory over sin, over the selfishness that prevents us from loving one another as brothers.  Peace is a gift from God and a sign of his presence.  Every disciple, called today to follow Jesus by carrying his cross, receives within himself the peace of the Crucified and Risen Christ in the certainty of his victory and the expectation of his definitive coming among us.

May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome the Holy Spirit with docility, as our interior Master and as the living Memory of Christ along our daily journey.

After the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

My cordial thoughts go out to our brothers in the Eastern Churches who are celebrating Easter today. May the Risen Lord bring to all, the gifts of his light and his peace.  Christos anesti!

With profound sadness, I am receiving the news coming from Syria, regarding the spiral of violence that continues to aggravate the already desperate humanitarian situation in that country, especially in the city of Aleppo, and claiming innocent victims, even among children, the sick and those who with great sacrifice have committed themselves to helping others.  I call upon all the parties involved in the conflict to respect the cessation of hostilities and to strengthen the dialogue that is already in progress, the only way that leads to peace.

Tomorrow in Rome, the International Conference on the theme: Sustainable development and the most vulnerable forms of work will begin.  I hope that this event will sensitize the authorities, political and economic institutions and civil society, so that they may promote a model of development that takes account of human dignity, in full respect of the norms governing work and the environment.

I greet you, pilgrims from Italy and from other countries.  In particular, I greet the faithful from Madrid, Barcelona and Warsaw, as well as the Abraham Community which is committed to the work of evangelization in Europe, the pilgrims from Olgiate Comasco, Bagnolo Mella and the recently Confirmed young people from Castelli Calepio.

I greet the Meter Associations, who have been fighting for many years against every form of abuse of minors.  This is a tragedy!  We should not tolerate abuses of minors!  We should defend minors and punish abusers severely.  Thank you for your commitment and continue your work with courage!

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
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