We better not keep the gifts we have been given in Confirmation in a cupboard.
Pope Francis reminded pilgrims of this during today’s General Audience on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. During his catechesis on Confirmation, the Pope was pointing out the resemblance to Christ in the baptized, noting that Confirmation unites them more strongly as living members of the mystical body of the Church (cf. Rite of Confirmation, 25).
The Church’s mission in the world proceeds through the contribution of all those who are part of it.
“Some think that there are bosses in the Church: the Pope, the bishops, the priests, and then there are the others.”
“No, we are all the Church!” he stressed, adding: “And we all have the responsibility of sanctifying each other, of taking care of others.”
Each person, he noted, has his or her work in the Church, but we are all part of her.
“We must think of the Church as a living organism, composed of people we know and walk with, and not as an abstract and distant reality. The Church is us, we who walk, we are the Church, today in this square. Us: this is the Church.”
During a Confirmation, the Pope reminded that we exchange a sign of peace among ourselves. This, Francis said, means harmony, peace and charity among us.
“But then what happens?” he asked. “We go outside and start to speak badly of others, “flaying” them. The gossip starts.”
“Gossip is war. This is not good! If we have received the sign of peace with the strength of the Holy Spirit, we must be men and women of peace, and not destroy, with the tongue, the peace that the Spirit has made.”
The Pope said we should feel bad for the Holy Spirit, that He has to put up with our gossiping. “Think about it: gossip is not the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not the work of the unity of the Church. Gossip destroys what God makes,” he said, stressing: “Please: stop gossiping!”
Not for Ourselves
“Nobody receives Confirmation only for himself, but rather to cooperate in the spiritual growth of others.” the Pope said. Only in this way, by opening ourselves and coming out of ourselves to meet our brothers, Francis noted, can we truly grow and not merely deceive ourselves we are doing so.
What we receive as a gift from God must in fact be given – a gift is to be given – in order to be fruitful, and not buried because of selfish fears, as the parable of the talents teaches (cf. Mt 25: 14-30).
“The seed too, when we have the seed in our hand, it is not to put it there, in the cupboard, to leave it there: it is to be sown.”
Stressing we must give the gift of the Holy Spirit to the community, Pope Francis urged the confirmed “to not ‘cage’ the Holy Spirit, not to resist the Wind that blows so as to push them to walk in freedom, not to stifle the burning Fire of charity that leads to consuming life for God and for brothers.”
The Holy Father prayed that “the Holy Spirit grant us all the apostolic courage to communicate the Gospel, with words and deeds, to all those we meet on our way.”