General Audience (March 17, 2021)

Omnes-May 17, 2021-Reading time: 4 minutes

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we complete the catechesis on prayer as a relationship with the Holy Trinity, in particular with the Holy Spirit.

The first gift of all Christian existence is the Holy Spirit. It is not one of many gifts, but one of many. the Don fundamental. The Spirit is the gift that Jesus had promised to send us. Without the Spirit there is no relationship with Christ and with the Father. For the Spirit opens our heart to the presence of God and draws it into that "whirlwind" of love which is the very heart of God. We are not only guests and pilgrims on our journey on this earth, we are also guests and pilgrims in the mystery of the Trinity. We are like Abraham, who one day, welcoming three travelers into his tent, found God. If we can truly invoke God by calling Him "Abba - Papa", it is because the Holy Spirit dwells in us; it is He who transforms us in our depths and makes us experience the moving joy of being loved by God as true children. All the spiritual work within us towards God is done by the Holy Spirit, this gift. He works in us to carry forward our Christian life towards the Father, with Jesus.

The CatechismIn this regard, he says: "Every time we turn to Jesus in prayer, it is the Holy Spirit who, with his prevenient grace, draws us to the way of prayer. Since he teaches us to pray by reminding us of Christ, how can we not also turn to him in prayer? For this reason, the Church invites us to implore the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and at the end of every important action" (n. 2670). This is the work of the Spirit in us. He "remembers" Jesus and makes him present in us - we can say that it is our Trinitarian memory, it is the memory of God in us - and makes him present in Jesus, so that he is not reduced to a personage of the past: that is, the Spirit brings Jesus to the present in our consciousness. If Christ were only distant in time, we would be alone and lost in the world. Yes, we will remember Jesus, there, far away, but it is the Spirit that brings him today, now, at this moment in our heart. But in the Spirit everything is enlivened: to Christians of every time and place the possibility of encountering Christ is open. The possibility of encountering Christ is open, not only as a historical personage. No: He draws Christ into our hearts, it is the Spirit who makes us meet Christ. He is not distant, the Spirit is with us: Jesus still educates his disciples by transforming their hearts, as he did with Peter, with Paul, with Mary Magdalene, with all the apostles. But why is Jesus present? Because it is the Spirit who brings him in us.

This is the experience of many prayerful people: men and women whom the Holy Spirit has formed according to the "measure" of Christ, in mercy, in service, in prayer, in catechesis... It is a grace to meet such people: we realize that in them beats a different life, their gaze sees "beyond". Let us not think only of monks and hermits; they are also found among the common people, people who have woven a long life of dialogue with God, sometimes of interior struggle, which purifies the faith. These humble witnesses have sought God in the Gospel, in the Eucharist received and adored, in the face of a brother in difficulty, and they guard his presence like a secret fire.

The first task of Christians is precisely to keep alive this fire, which Jesus has brought to earth (cf. Lc 12:49), and what is this fire? It is love, the Love of God, the Holy Spirit. Without the fire of the Spirit, prophecy is extinguished, sadness supplants joy, habit replaces love, service is transformed into slavery. The image of the lighted lamp next to the tabernacle, where the Eucharist is kept, comes to mind. Even when the church is empty and night falls, even when the church is closed, that lamp remains lit, it continues to burn: no one sees it, but it burns before the Lord. So is the Spirit in our heart; he is always present like that lamp.

We also find written in the CatechismThe Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Teacher of Christian prayer. He is the architect of the living tradition of prayer. Certainly, there are as many ways of prayer as there are pray-ers, but it is the same Spirit who acts in all and with all. In communion in the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is prayer in the Church" (n. 2672). It often happens that we do not pray, we do not feel like praying or we often pray like parrots with our mouth but our heart is far away. This is the moment to say to the Spirit: "Come, come Holy Spirit, warm my heart. Come and teach me to pray, teach me to look at the Father, to look at the Son. Teach me how to walk the path of faith. Teach me how to love and above all teach me to have an attitude of hope". It is about calling the Spirit continually to be present in our lives.

It is therefore the Spirit who writes the history of the Church and of the world. We are open pages, available to receive his calligraphy. And in each of us the Spirit composes original works, because there will never be one Christian completely identical to another. In the infinite field of holiness, the one God, Trinity of Love, makes the variety of witnesses flourish: all equal in dignity, but also unique in the beauty that the Spirit has willed to radiate in each one of those whom God's mercy has made his children. Let us not forget, the Spirit is present, he is present in us. Let us listen to the Spirit, let us call upon the Spirit - it is the gift, the gift that God has given us - and let us say to him: "Holy Spirit, I do not know what your face looks like - we do not know it - but I know that you are the strength, that you are the light, that you are able to make me go forward and to teach me how to pray. Come, Holy Spirit. This is a beautiful prayer: "Come, Holy Spirit".

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