MORNING MASS IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
“The Spirit teaches us everything, introduces us to mystery,
makes us remember and discern”
Monday, 11 May 2020
Today let us join with the faithful of Termoli, on the feast of the Discovery of the body of Saint Timothy. In these days many people have lost their jobs; they have not been re-employed, they work “under the table”… Let us pray for these brothers and sisters of ours who suffer as a result of this lack of work.
The passage from today’s Gospel is from Jesus’s farewell at the Last Supper (see Jn 14:21-26). The Lord ends with these verses: “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name - He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (vv. 25-26). It is the promise of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit that dwells in us and whom the Father and the Son send. “The Father will send in my name”, says Jesus, to accompany us in life. And they call Him Paraclete. This is the task of the Holy Spirit. In Greek, Paraclete is the one who supports, who accompanies you so you do not fall, who keeps you steadfast, who is near you to sustain you. And the Lord promised us this support, Who is God like Him: He is the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do in us? The Lord tells us: “He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (v. 26). Teaching and remembering. This is the task of the Holy Spirit.
He teaches us: He teaches us the mystery of faith, He teaches us to enter into the mystery, to understand the mystery a bit more. He teaches us Jesus's doctrine and He teaches us how to develop our faith without making mistakes, so that the doctrine grows, but always in the same direction: it grows in comprehension. And the Spirit helps us to grow in the understanding of faith, to understand it more, to understand what faith says. Faith is not something static; doctrine is not something static, it grows. It grows like trees grow, always the same, but bigger, with fruit, but always the same, in the same direction. And the Holy Spirit prevents doctrinal error, He prevents it remaining stuck there, without growing in us. He will teach us the things that Jesus taught us, He will develop our comprehension of what Jesus taught us, He will make the doctrine of the Lord grow in us until it reaches maturity.
And another thing that Jesus says the Holy Spirit does is to remind: “He will… remind you of all that I told you” (v. 26). The Holy Spirit is like our memory. He rouses us: “Remember this, remember that”. He keeps us awake, always awake in the things of the Lord, and He also makes us remember our life: “Think of that moment, think of when you encountered the Lord, think of when you left the Lord”.
Once I heard it said that a person prayed before the Lord in this way: “Lord, I am the same person I was as a child. When I was little I had these dreams. Then I set out on the wrong path. Now you have called me”. I am the same: this is the memory of the Holy Spirit in one’s own life. He leads us to the memory of salvation, to the memory of what Jesus taught, but also to the memory of one’s own life. And what this man said made me think. It is a beautiful way to pray, to look at the Lord and say: “I am the same. I have journeyed a lot, I have made many mistakes, but I am the same, and you love me”. The memory of the journey of life.
And in this memory, the Holy Spirit guides us; He leads us to discern, to discern what we must do now, which is the right path and which is the wrong one, even in small decisions. If we ask for the light of the Holy Spirit, He will help us to discern so as to make the right decisions, the little everyday ones and the big ones. He will accompany us and support us in this discernment.
Therefore, the Spirit teaches us: He will teach us everything, that is, He will make us grow in faith, He introduces us to the mystery. The Spirit reminds us: He reminds us of faith, He reminds us of our life; it is the Spirit who in this teaching and in this memory teaches us to discern the decisions we must make. And the Gospels give a name to this, to the Holy Spirit - yes, Paraclete, because He supports you, but another more beautiful name: the Gift of God. The Spirit is the Gift of God. The Spirit is indeed the gift. He will not leave you alone, He will send you a Paraclete who will sustain you and help you to progress, to remember, discern and grow. The Gift of God is the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord help us to keep this Gift that He has given us in Baptism, and which we all have within.
Those who cannot receive Communion can now make a spiritual communion:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if you were already there, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
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