Vatican City – In difficult times, Christians should be like the disciples in the boat on the stormy sea, calling to Jesus and waking him up, Pope Francis has said.
“We must awaken Christ in our hearts, and only then can we contemplate things with his eyes, for he sees beyond the storm,” the pope said Nov. 10 during his weekly general audience.
With an exhortation to trust in the presence of Christ and learn to invoke the help of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said he was concluding his series of lectures on St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The final presentation was the 15th in a series that began in late June.
The Letter to the Galatians, he said, should inspire Christians to follow “the path of freedom, to ‘walk in the Spirit’.”
Christian freedom has nothing to do with “debauchery” or feeling completely self-sufficient and not needing God’s help, he said. Instead, St. Paul taught that freedom exists under “the shadow of love” and is exercised in acts of charity and service.
Christian freedom is not freedom from the law, the pope said, but rather its fulfillment.
But, he said, “the temptation is always to turn back. One definition of Christians in scripture is that we Christians are not people who back down, who turn back. a good definition. The temptation is to turn around to feel safer, to turn to the law alone, disregarding the new life in the Spirit.”
“This is what Paul teaches us: the true law finds its fullness in the life of the Spirit that Jesus gave us, and this life in the Spirit can only be lived in freedom, Christian freedom,” said Pope Francis.
In addition to calling on Jesus in the midst of a storm, the pope encouraged Christians to regularly invoke the help of the Holy Spirit.
“Someone can say: ‘Father, how do you invoke the Holy Spirit, because I know how to pray the Father, with the Our Father; I know how to pray Our Lady with the Ave Maria; I know how to pray Jesus with the Prayer to the Holy Wounds, but what about the Spirit? What is the prayer of the Holy Spirit?'”
“Praying to the Holy Spirit is spontaneous; it must come from your heart. In difficult times you must ask, ‘Holy Spirit, come,'” he said. “You have to say it in your own language, in your own words. ‘Come, because I’m in trouble; come because I’m in darkness, in black; come because I don’t know what to do; come because that I’m about to fall.'”
“This prayer will help us to walk in the Spirit, in freedom and in joy,” the pope said, “because when the Holy Spirit comes, there is joy, real joy.”