[This article was published by AsiaNews last May following a general audience presentation by Pope Francis. As I re-read it today, my mind grapples, too, with the issues raised before the Supreme Court of the United States of America and the Affordable Care Act and its requirements. How we reconcile our faith in the public square will be an ongoing challenge.]
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – You cannot be a “part-time” Christian, “at certain moments, circumstances, choices” ” faith must guide our lives, because the “truth that the Holy Spirit gives us always and totally involves our daily lives”. In an era marked by relativism, that “the truth lies in consensus,” Pope Francis reminds Christians that “Jesus is the Truth,” and the Holy Spirit He who “guides us on the path of knowledge of the truth”, to the “things of God. ”
80 thousand people were present for the Pope’s audience, among which, as has become customary, he made a lengthy tour of greeting, with people cheering, children to kiss and some gifts. O singular interest today, a cage with two white doves, which Francis released to the applause and jubilation of the crowd.
Francis dedicated his reflection “to the action that the Holy Spirit accomplishes in guiding the Church and each one of us to the Truth.” But “we live in an age rather skeptical of truth. Benedict XVI has spoken many times of relativism, that is, the tendency to believe that nothing is definitive, and think that the truth is given by consent or by what we want. The question arises: does “the” truth really exist? What is “the” truth? Can we know it? Can we find it? Here I am reminded of the question of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate when Jesus reveals the profound meaning of his mission: “What is truth?” (Jn 18,37.38). Pilate does not understand that “the” Truth is in front of him, he cannot see in Jesus the face of the truth, which is the face of God yet, Jesus is just that: the Truth”.
“You cannot grab the truth as if it were an object, you encounter it. It is not a possession, is an encounter with a Person. But who helps us recognize that Jesus is “the” Word of truth, the only begotten Son of God the Father? St. Paul teaches that “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3). It is the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Risen Christ, which helps us recognize the Truth. Jesus calls him the “Paraclete”, meaning “the one who comes to our aid,” who is by our side to support us in this journey of knowledge, and at the Last Supper, Jesus assures his disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things , reminding them of his words (cf. Jn 14:26)”.
“What is then the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the Church to guide us to the truth? First of all, remind and imprint on the hearts of believers the words that Jesus said, and precisely through these words, God’s law – as the prophets of the Old Testament had announced – is inscribed in our hearts and becomes within us a principle of evaluation in our choices and of guidance in our daily actions, it becomes a principle of life”.
“The Holy Spirit, then, as Jesus promises, guides us “into all truth” (Jn 16:13) he leads us not only to an encounter with Jesus, the fullness of Truth, but guides us “into” the Truth, that is, he helps us enter into a deeper communion with Jesus himself, gifting us knowledge of the things of God. We cannot achieve this on our own strengths. If God does not enlighten us interiorly, our being Christians will be superficial”.
“Let’s ask ourselves: are we open to the Holy Spirit, do I pray to him to enlighten me, to make me more sensitive to the things of God? And this is a prayer we need to pray every day, every day: Holy Spirit may my heart be open to the Word of God, may my heart be open to good, may my heart be open to the beauty of God, every day. But I would like to ask a question to all of you: How many of you pray every day to the Holy Spirit? Eh, a few of you I bet, eh! Well, a few, few, a few, but we realize this wish of Jesus, pray every day for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to Jesus!”.
“Do not be a ‘part-time” Christian, at certain moments, in certain circumstances, in certain choices, be Christian at all times! The truth of Christ, which the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us, always and forever, involves our daily lives. Let us invoke him more often, to guide us on the path of Christ’s disciples Let us invoke the Holy Spirit everyday! Thus the Spirit will bring us closer to Jesus Christ. Thank you”.