A Catholic Monthly Magazine

To the People of the Holy Land and on Piety

Pope Speaks DecPope Francis emphasised that “the Lord’s goodness does not dispense us from the need for vigilance before the Tempter, before sin, before the evil and the betrayal which can enter even into the religious and priestly life. We are all exposed to sin, to evil, to betrayal. We are fully conscious of the disproportion between the grandeur of God’s call and of our own littleness, between the sublimity of the mission and the reality of our human weakness. Yet the Lord in his great goodness and his infinite mercy always takes us by the hand lest we drown in the sea of our fears and anxieties. He is ever at our side, he never abandons us. And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but with courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission”.

He reminded those present that they were called to follow the Lord with joy in this holy land. “It is a gift and also a responsibility. Your presence here is extremely important”, and added that the whole Church was grateful for their work and sustains them with her prayers. He also offered his greetings to all Christians in Jerusalem: “I would like to assure them that I remember them affectionately and that I pray for them, being well aware of the difficulties they experience in this city. I urge them to be courageous witnesses of the passion of the Lord but also of his resurrection, with joy and hope”. He concluded, “let us imitate the Virgin Mary and Saint John, and stand by all those crosses where Jesus continues to be crucified. This is how the Lord calls us to follow him: this is the path, there is no other! ‘Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.’ ˝                VIS 26 May  2014

The Gift Of Piety: Synonym Of Filial Trust In God

Vatican City, 4 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated this Wednesday’s general audience to another gift of the Holy Spirit, piety, which he emphasised is not used here in a superficial sense.Holy Spirit

Piety, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, means “our belonging to God and our profound bond with Him, a bond that gives meaning to all our lives and helps us stay firmly in communion with Him, even in the most difficult moments”.

The Pope explained to the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that this union is not and should not be a duty or an imposition, but is instead an exchange, “something that comes from within, a relationship experienced with the heart: it is our friendship with God, given to us by Jesus, a friendship that changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy. Therefore, the gift of piety arouses gratitude and praise, first and foremost. Indeed this is the reason and the most authentic meaning of our worship and our adoration. When the Holy Spirit makes us aware of the Lord’s presence and of all His love for us, this warms our hearts and moves us almost naturally to prayer and celebration. Piety, therefore, is a synonym for authentic religious spirit and filial trust in God, for that capacity to pray to Him with the love and simplicity of those who are humble at heart”.

This gift, which enables us to live as true children of God, also leads us to love our neighbour and to recognise him as our brother. “And so we are moved to sentiments of piety – not pietism, or outward religiosity. Why do I say ‘piety’ and not ‘pietism’? Because there are those who think that piety means closing ones eyes, assuming an image or a saintly face”, commented Pope Francis, using a phrase typical of Piedmont, the Italian region from which he originates: “Fare la mugna quacia” (feign ingenuousness, Ed.). “This is not the true gift of piety. The true gift of piety makes us truly capable of rejoicing with those who are joyful, of weeping with those who weep, of being close to those who are in anguish, of correcting those who err, of consoling the afflicted, of welcoming and assisting those in need. There is also a close relationship between piety and quietude”, he observed. “The Holy Spirit makes us calm and patient, in peace with God and meekly at the service of others”.

The Holy Father concluded by quoting from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’. Let us pray the Lord that this gift of the Holy Spirit may conquer our fears, uncertainties and also our restless, impatient spirit, and make us joyful witnesses of God and His Love”.

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