Sunday, May 17, 2020

Regina Caeli: the promise of the Holy Spirit

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), inside the Library at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father led the recitation of the Regina Caeli.  At the conclusion of the Regina Caeli, the Pope appeared at the window his study and imparted his blessing.

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

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The gospel for this Sunday (cf Jn 14: 15-21) presents two messages: the observance of the Commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus links love for him to the observance of the commandments, and insists on this in his farewell discourse: If you love me, you will keep my commandments (Jn 14: 15); Whoever accepts my commandments and observes them, he is the one who loves me (Jn 14: 21). Jesus asks us to love him, but he explains: this love does not end in a desire for him, or in a feeling, no, it requires the availability to follow his path, that is, the will of the Father. And this is summed up in the commandment of mutual love - the first love in implementation - given by Jesus himself: As I have loved you, so you also love one another (Jn 13: 34). He did not say: Love me, as I have loved you, but love one another as I have loved you. He loves us without asking us to love him in return. Jesus' love is free, he never asks us to return his love. And he wants his free love to become the concrete form of life between us: this is his will.

In order to help the disciples to walk on this path, Jesus promises that he will pray to the Father to send another Paraclete (Jn 14: 16), that is, a Comforter, a Defender who takes his place and gives them intelligence to listen and courage to observe his words. This is the Holy Spirit, who is the Gift of God's love that descends into the heart of all Christians. After Jesus died and rose again, his love is given to those who believe in him and are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit himself guides them, enlightens them, strengthens them, so that each one can walk in life, also through adversity and difficulty, through the joys and sorrows, remaining in the way of Jesus. This is possible precisely by remaining docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, with his presence at work, we may not only console but transform hearts, open them to truth and love.

Faced with the experience of error and sin - which we all commit -, the Holy Spirit helps us not to succumb and makes us grasp and live fully the sense of Jesus' words: If you love me, you will keep my commandments (Jn 14: 15). The commandments are not given to us like a sort of mirror, in which to see our miseries, our inconsistencies reflected. No, I'm not like that. The Word of God is given to us as the Word of life, which transforms the heart, all life, which renews, which does not judge in order to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its goal. The mercy of God is like this. A Word that gives light to our footsteps. And all this is the work of the Holy Spirit! He is the Gift of God, he is God himself, who helps us to be free people, people who want and know how to love, people who have understood that life is a mission to proclaim the wonders that the Lord accomplishes in those who trust him.

May the Virgin Mary, model of the Church who knows how to listen to the Word of God and welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit, help us to joyfully live the Gospel, in the awareness of being supported by the Spirit, divine fire that warms hearts and illuminates our steps .

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

Dear brothers and sisters!

Tomorrow, we will celebrate 100 years since the birth of Saint John Paul II in Wadowice, in Poland.  We remember him with much affection and gratitude.  Tomorrow morning, at 7:00am, I will celebrate Holy Mass, which will be broadcast throughout the world, at the altar where his mortal remains are buried.  From Heaven, may he continue to intercede for the People of God and for peace in the world

In some countries, liturgical celebrations in the presence of the faithful have begun again; in other countries, this reality is still being evaluated; in Italy, beginning tomorrow, we will be able to celebrate Mass with the people, but please, let us do this according to the rules, the prescriptions that have been given, in order to maintain the health of everyone and of all peoples.

During the month of May, in many parishes, there is a tradition of celebrating the Month of First Communions.  Clearly, because of this pandemic, this beautiful moment of faith and festival was postponed.  For this reason, I would like to invite you all to think affectionately about the boys and girls who would have received the Eucharist for the first time.  Beloved, I invite you to live this time of waiting as an opportunity to prepare better: praying, reading the book of the Catechism in order to deepen your knowledge of Jesus, and growing in goodness and service to others.  May your journey be rewarding.

Today begins Laudato Si' week, which will continue until next Sunday.  During this week, we recall the fifth anniversary of the publication of that Encyclical .  In these times of pandemic, in which we are more aware of the importance of taking care of our common home, I hope that all reflection and common commitment may help to create and strengthen constructive attitudes for the care of our common home.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye.
Testo originale nella lingua italiana

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