A Christian should have their heart fixed on the Holy Spirit, not a fickle heart that dances from one place to another.
This was Pope Francis’ message Monday morning at Mass in Casa Santa Marta.
The Pope focused his homily on St. Paul, who was able to continuously evangelize because his heart was made firm by the Holy Spirit. What kind of heart do we have? That was the question at the center of Pope Francis homily based on the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which speaks of St Paul’s commitment to evangelization “his firm heart in continuous motion”.
The Apostle to the Gentiles is in Iconium, where they tried to kill him, but still he does not complain, the Pope recalled. He pushes ahead on to evangelize in the area of Lycaonia, and in the name of the Lord, heals a paralytic. On seeing this miracle, the pagans think Paul, and Barnabas who was accompanying him, are gods Zeus and Hermes descended upon the earth.
Paul “struggled to convince them that they were men,” the Pope said, adding that these “are the human trials that Paul experienced”.
“We all have many of these, all of us; we are surrounded by many events that move us from one place to another. But we ask for the grace to have a fixed heart, like Paul, so as not to complain about the persecution.
“He went in search to another city. He began to preach there, to heal the sick, realizing that that man had enough faith to be healed. Then he calmed this excited people who wanted to make a sacrifice to him, and then proclaimed that there is only one God, with their own cultural language. One thing after another … And this can only come from a steady heart”.
The Pope asked: “Where was Paul ‘s heart that he was able to make so many changes in such a short time and meet these situations in an appropriate way?”. In the Gospel , the Pope said, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, “will teach us all things” and “remind us of everything” that He had said.
St. Paul’s heart “is fixed in the Holy Spirit”, this “gift that Jesus has sent us”, the Pope said, and to find stability in our lives we must “go to Him. He is in our hearts, we received Him in Baptism”. The Holy Spirit “gives us strength, gives us this steadiness to be able to move forward in life in the midst of many events”.
Jesus points out “two things” of the Holy Spirit: that “He will teach you all things and will remind you of everything”. That is exactly what happens with St. Paul: “he teaches and reminds him” of the “message of salvation”. It is the Holy Spirit who gives him firmness of heart.
“With this example, we can ask ourselves today: What kind of heart do we have? Is it a fickle heart which like a dancer, like a butterfly flits from one to another…always in motion; Is it a heart that is scared by the vicissitudes of life, and is hiding and afraid to give witness to Jesus Christ; is it a brave heart or a heart that has so much fear and is always trying to hide? What does our heart care for? What treasure does our heart custody? Is my heart fixed upon creatures, the problems that we all have ? Is my heart fixed upon everyday gods or is it a heart fixed on the Holy Spirit? “.
Pope Francis said it would do us good to ask: “Where is the firmness of our hearts?” and to ask ourselves in the many every day events that we have — at home, at work, with our children, with people who live with us, with work colleagues, with everyone: ‘Do I let myself get carried away by these things or face these events with a fixed heart, that knows where it is?’ The only one that gives firmness to our hearts is the Holy Spirit. It would do us good to think that we have this great gift that Jesus left us, the Spirit of fortitude, of counsel, who helps us to move forward in the midst, surrounded by every day trials.
“We should do this exercise today, ask how our heart is: Firm or not? And if it is firm, where does it dwell? In things or in the Holy Spirit? It would do us good! “