Angelus of Pope Francis. Photo: Vatican Media

Pope Francis Explains How The Holy Spirit Frees Us From Fear 

Address on the occasion of the Regina Coeli prayer on Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 05.28.2023).- Some 15,000 people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square today to hear the Pope’s Sunday address and to recite the Regina Coeli Marian prayer. In addition to the address on Pentecost, the Holy Father recalled the 250th anniversary of the death of the great Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni. He also mentioned those affected by the cyclone in Myanmar and Bangladesh and the fact that at the end of May, the Marian month, different Shrines are holding moments of prayer for the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Finally, he appealed once again for peace in the world, especially in Ukraine

Here is the text of the Pontiff’s address.

* * *

Today, the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Gospel takes us to the Upper Room, where the Apostles had taken refuge after the death of Jesus (John 20: 19-23). The Risen One, on the evening of Passover, presents Himself precisely in that situation of fear and anguish and, breathing on them, says: “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v. 22). In this way, with the gift of the Spirit, Jesus wishes to free the disciples from fear, from this fear that keeps them shut away at home, and He frees them so that they may be able to go out and become witnesses and proclaimers of the Gospel. Let us dwell a little on what the Spirit does: He frees from fear.

The disciples had closed the doors, the Gospel says, “for fear” (v. 19). The death of Jesus had shocked them, their dreams had been shattered, their hopes had vanished. And they closed themselves inside. Not only in that room, but within, in the heart. I would like to underline this: closed inside. How often do we too shut ourselves in? How often, because of some difficult situation, because of some personal or family problem, because of a suffering that marks us or the evil we breathe around us, do we risk slipping slowly into a loss of hope and lack the courage to go on? This happens many times. And then, like the Apostles, we shut ourselves in, barricading ourselves in the labyrinth of worries.

Brothers and sisters, this “shutting ourselves in” happens when, in the most difficult situations, we allow fear to take the upper hand and let its loud voice dominate within us. The cause, therefore, is fear: fear of not being able to cope, of having to face everyday battles alone, of risking and then being disappointed, of making the wrong decisions. Brothers, sisters, fear blocks, fear paralyses. And it also isolates: think of the fear of others, of those who are foreign, who are different, who think in another way. And there can even be the fear of God: that He will punish me, that He will be angry with me… If we give space to these false fears, the doors close: the doors of the heart, the doors of society, and even the doors of the Church! Where there is fear, there is closure. And this will not do.

However, the Gospel offers us the remedy of the Risen One: the Holy Spirit. He frees us from the prisons of fear. When they receive the Spirit, the Apostles — we celebrate this today — come out of the Upper Room and go out into the world to forgive sins and to proclaim the good news. Thanks to Him, fears are overcome and doors open. Because this is what the Spirit does: He makes us feel God’s proximity, and so thus His love casts out fear, illuminates the way, consoles, sustains in adversity. Faced with fears and closure, then, let us invoke the Holy Spirit for us, for the Church and for the whole world: let a new Pentecost cast out the fears that assail us and revive the flame of God’s love.

May Mary Most Holy, the first to be filled with the Holy Spirit, intercede for us.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation