Everyone needs a bit of help when making decisions, whether big or small… When uncertain what to do, the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis says, is our helper, leading us in the right direction.
According to Vatican News, today, May 11th, the Pontiff expressed this during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.
At the start of the Mass, Pope Francis prayed for all victims of Coronavirus, and specifically for those who have lost their jobs or lack work.
“In these days,” Francis said, “many people have lost their jobs,” noting many “have not been re-employed, or are working ‘under the table.'”
“We pray for these brothers and sisters of ours who are suffering because of lack of work,” he said.
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel according to St. John (Jn 14:21-26), observing it is the ‘Farewell Discourse’ after the Last Supper in which Jesus reassures His disciples and tells them they will never be left alone.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
God, Pope Francis underscored, sent the Holy Spirit to accompany and sustain us throughout our lives, noting the Spirit ‘never leaves us alone.’
The Holy Spirit, the Jesuit Pope reminded, “is called the Paraclete – or the Advocate – because He sustains us, He accompanies us so we do not fall,” and explained that “the Lord has promised us this support, who is God.”
“What does the Holy Spirit do in us?” he asked, noting “he teaches us to enter into the mystery of faith, he helps us to understand the mystery, the doctrine of Jesus and to develop our faith without making mistakes.”
Doctrine, Francis also added, “grows in understanding but always in the same direction.”
The Spirit, the Pope underscored, teaches us to grow, to discern, and to remember.
The Spirit, he also said, brings us to the memory of salvation, the memory of the journey of life. He guides us to discern what we must do now, what is the right way and what is the wrong way.”
This gift of God of the Holy Spirit, Francis suggested, “helps us to make everyday decisions, big and small.”
“He teaches us everything, He introduces us into mystery, He makes us remember, discern and grow,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord help us to keep this gift that we received in Baptism.”
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.
It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.
On May 4th, the country entered its so-called ‘Phase 2′, where it will slowly relaxing some of the lockdown restrictions.
Public Masses in Italy with the faithful will resume on Monday, May 18th, according to a statement of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. There will continue to be various safety measures in place, in order to protect the faithful.
In Italy where more than 30,000 people have died from COVID19, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been twelve cases of coronavirus in the Vatican, confirmed a recent statement from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.
The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily is published below.
FULL HOMILY [working translation by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester] –
The passage of today’s Gospel is Jesus’ taking leave at the <last> Supper (Cf. John 14:21-26). The Lord ends with these verses: “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (vv. 25-26). It’s the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that dwells <in> us and that the Father and Son send. Whom “the Father will send in my name,” says Jesus, to accompany us in life. And we call Him Paraclete. This is the office of the Holy Spirit. In Greek, the Paraclete is He who supports one. And the Lord promised us this support that is God as He <is>: it is the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do in us? The Lord tells us: “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (v. 26). To teach and to recall: this is the office of the Holy Spirit. He teaches us; He teaches us the mystery of the faith; He teaches us to enter in the mystery, and understand the mystery a bit more. He teaches us Jesus’ doctrine and He teaches us how to develop our faith without erring, because the doctrine grows, but always in the same direction: it grows in understanding. And the Spirit helps us to grow in understanding of the faith, to understand it more, to understand what the faith says. Faith isn’t something static; doctrine isn’t something static, it grows. It grows as trees grow, always the same but larger, with fruit, but always the same, in the same direction. And the Holy Spirit avoids the doctrine erring; it avoids it remaining still there, without growing in us. He will teach us what Jesus has taught us, He will develop in us understanding of what Jesus has taught us, He will make the Lord’s doctrine grow in us to maturity.
And another thing that Jesus says the Holy Spirit does is to recall: He “will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (v. 26). The Holy Spirit is like the memory, He awakens us: ”But remember this, remember that.” He keeps us awake, always awake in the things of the Lord and He also makes us remember our life. “Think of that moment, think when you encountered the Lord; think when you left the Lord.” I once heard that a person was praying before the Lord thus: “Lord, I am the same as I was as a child, as a boy, I had these dreams. Then I went on erroneous ways. Now You have called me.” I am the same: this is the memory of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. He leads one to the memory of salvation, to the memory of what Jesus has taught, but also to the memory of one’s own life. And this made me think — what this gentleman was saying — of a good way of praying, of looking at the Lord: “I am the same. I have walked so much, I have made many mistakes, but I am the same and You love me.” The memory of <our> way of life, and the Holy Spirit guides us in this memory: He guides us to discern; to discern what I must do now, what the right way is and what the mistaken way is, also in small decisions. If we ask the Holy Spirit for light, He will help us to discern to make true decisions, the every day small ones and the bigger ones. He is the one that accompanies us; He sustains us in discernment. That is, the Spirit that teaches, that will teach us everything, namely, that makes <our> faith grow, that introduces us in the mystery, the Spirit that reminds us. He recalls the faith, He recalls our life, and it’s the Spirit that in this teaching, in this remembrance, teaches us to discern the decisions we must make. And to this the Gospels give a name to the Holy Spirit: yes, Paraclete, because He supports us, but <He has> another more beautiful name: He is the Gift of God. The Spirit is the Gift of God. The Spirit is in fact the Gift. I will not leave you alone. I will send a Paraclete that will support you and help you to go forward, to remember, to discern and to grow. The Holy Spirit is the Gift of God.
May the Lord help us to guard this Gift that he gave us in Baptism and that we all have within.
The Pope invited the faithful to Make a Spiritual Communion with This Prayer:
My Jesus, I believe You are really present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. As I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As if You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Do not permit me to be ever separated from You.
Pope Francis ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. Before leaving the Chapel, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Marian antiphon “Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide: