May the upcoming feast of Pentecost, the ‘birthday of the Church,’ make us abound in hope.
Pope Francis said these joyful words during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, as he continued his catecheses on Christian hope.
Reflecting this time on the theme: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Cf. Romans 15:13-14), he discussed Christian hope and the Holy Spirit.
“The Spirit is the wind that drives us on, that keeps us on the way, makes us feel ourselves pilgrims and strangers, and does not permit us to ensconce ourselves and to become a ‘sedentary’ people.”
The expression “God of hope,” Francis said, does not only mean that God is the object of our hope, “namely Him that we hope to reach one day in eternal life,” but also means “that God is He that already now makes us hope, rather, He makes us rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12).
Saint Paul attributes to the Holy Spirit, the Jesuit Pope reminded, the capacity to make us even “abound in hope.”
“To abound in hope means never to be discouraged; it means to hope ‘against all hope’” (Romans 4:18), namely, to hope also when every human motive for hope fails, as it was for Abraham, when God asked him to sacrifice to Him his only son, Isaac, and as it was, even more so, for the Virgin Mary under Jesus’ Cross.”
The Holy Spirit, he stressed, makes this invincible hope possible, “giving us the interior testimony that we are children of God and His heirs (Cf. Romans 8:16).”
“Hope — brothers and sisters — does not disappoint: hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans5:5),” he said. “It does not disappoint, because the Holy Spirit is within us, Who pushes us to go on, always! And because of this, hope does not disappoint.”
Not only does the Holy Spirit make us capable of hoping, Francis pointed out, but it also makes us able to be “sowers of hope,” like “paracletes.”
“A Christian can sow bitterness, he can sow perplexity, [but] this is not Christian, and one who does this is not a good Christian,” he stressed, noting a Christian “sows hope: he sows the oil of hope; he sows the perfume of hope and not the vinegar of bitterness and despair.”
The Holy Father also reminded that the Holy Spirit nourishes hope not only in men’s heart, but also in the whole of Creation.
Pope Francis concluded, praying, “Brothers and sisters, may the forthcoming feast of Pentecost, which is the birthday of the Church, may the gift of the Holy Spirit make us abound in hope.”
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