Holy spirit

The action of the Holy Spirit in us changes our heart, says the pope

VATICAN CITY — During his weekly General Audience Oct. 27, Pope Francis continued his series of lectures on St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, focusing on the fruits of the Spirit that the apostle said are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

The pope said St Paul reminded the Galatians that the death and resurrection of Christ must be at the center of faith and warned against the temptation to base “their religiosity on respect for precepts and traditions”.

He also noted that the same temptation exists today, and “many still seek religious security” by focusing on “rituals and precepts instead of embracing the love of God with their whole being.” .

“It’s the temptation of new fundamentalists, isn’t it,” the pope said, departing from his prepared remarks. This is the path followed by “those who seem afraid to progress, and who regress because they feel more secure: they seek God’s security and not the God of our security”.

“If we lose the thread of our spiritual life, if a thousand thoughts and problems assail us, he says, we must make Paul’s advice our own and place ourselves before the crucified Christ” because “it is he who changes the heart; not the things we do, but the working of the Holy Spirit in us changes our hearts!”

St. Paul’s warning about the “works of the flesh”, the pope continued, was not “because there is something wrong or wrong in our human body”, but it was a warning that focusing only on “worldly instincts” can close the door “to the Spirit who uplifts us and opens us to God and others.”

Christians also face the challenge of imparting the joy and freedom of the Holy Spirit, especially when those “who approach the church feel they are dealing with a dense mass of rules and regulations “.

“No, it’s not the church!” said Pope Francis. Reducing faith to following “commandments or a moral vision” can “make us forget the original fruitfulness of love nourished by prayer from which flow peace and joyful testimony”.

“We therefore have the immense responsibility of announcing the crucified and risen Christ, animated by the breath of the spirit of love. For it is this love alone which possesses the power to attract and change the human heart” , said the pope.

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju