Sadness is not compatible with our Christian identity…
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on the Holy Spirit, who was “the protagonist” of today’s Gospel.
In the passage, Jesus was saying farewell to his disciples, and before going to heaven, gave them a “true catechesis” on the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, Francis reminded, makes the burdens of life, light, with its support and closeness. Hence, “sadness is not a Christian attitude,” he said.
It is possible, the Holy Father underscored, to overcome the difficulties of life with the support and closeness of the Holy Spirit.
Recalling when Jesus acknowledges the grief and sadness of his disciples at his leaving, Francis reminded: “Sadness is not a Christian attitude.”
“But how can one not be sad?” he admitted, noting: “to counter sadness, we pray to the Lord to keep the renewed youth of the spirit within us.”
The Holy Spirit, the Pope said, ensures that we continue to be renewed and youthful in our faith.
To Carry Our Crosses
The Holy Spirit, Pope Francis explained, gives us the capacity to carry our crosses. He reflected on the reading from the Acts of the Apostles that tells of how Paul and Silas, who had been stripped, beaten, chained and imprisoned, sang hymns to God.
The Holy Spirit, he said, renews everything. The Holy Spirit accompanies us in life and sustains us. And calling the Spirit the ‘Paraclete’, the Pope explained the meaning of this “strange” word – which – he said, refers to “He who is near me and supports me so that I don’t fall, so I keep my spirit youthful”.
“A Christian is always young,” the Pope continued, and when the heart of a Christian begins to age, so does his Christian vocation.
“Either you are young in heart and soul, or you are not fully Christian” he said.
Daily Dialogue with Holy Spirit
To go forward, the Argentine Pontiff recommended daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit.
While he acknowledged we all have sorrow and pain in our lives, he also reminded how Paul and Silas were beaten and suffering, “and yet, they were full of joy, they sang…”
Francis went on to describe what being “youthful” means, in the sense of looking ahead with hope. However, to be able to have this youthful attitude, he said, “we need a daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit, who is always with us.”
“It is the great gift that Jesus left us: this support, which allows us to go forward,” he said.
One’s soul, Francis said, is kept young by the spirit, whereas sin makes it grow old.
Even if sinners, repent and look ahead
Even if we are sinners, Pope Francis stressed, the Holy Spirit helps us to repent and look ahead: “speak to the Spirit who will give you support and restore your youthfulness”.
Sin, on the other hand, he said ages one: “the soul ages, everything ages”.
In life there are difficult moments, but in these moments “we feel that the Spirit helps us to move forward (…) and to overcome difficulties. Even martyrdom,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded, giving the following invitation: “Let us ask the Lord not to lose this renewed youthfulness, not to be Christians who have retired and have lost their joy.”
“A Christian never retires, a Christian lives because he is young – when he is a true Christian,” he said.