VATICAN CITY — During his general audience this week, Pope Francis began a new catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, drawing specific attention to wisdom and noting that it illuminates our actions and draws us closer to God.
“We need to ask ourselves if our lives have the flavor of the Gospel; if others perceive that we are men and women of God; if it is the Holy Spirit that moves our lives,” the Pope insisted in his April 5 address.
Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to hear the weekly discourse, the Holy Father announced, “Today, we begin a series of catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
Observing, “The Spirit is himself the ‘gift of God,’” the Pope emphasized that he is also “the presence of God’s love in the Church and in our hearts.”
“Based on a messianic prophecy of Isaiah, the Church has traditionally distinguished seven gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord,” he continued, noting that “the first of these is wisdom.”
Highlighting, “This is not the fruit of knowledge and human experience,” the Pope explained that it “consists of an interior light that only the Holy Spirit can give and that enables us to recognize the imprint of God in our lives and history.”
It is a grace, he said, “enabling us to contemplate all things with the eyes of God and a heart docile to the promptings of the Spirit.”
Born out of “intimacy with God” and a closeness to him “in prayer and loving communion,” this gift “makes a Christian contemplative” and “helps us to recognize with joyful gratitude his providential plan for all things,” the Holy Father added.
“Everything speaks of God, and everything is seen as a sign of his love and a reason to give thanks.”
Observing how “this does not mean that Christians have a response for everything,” Pope Francis emphasized that it does mean “they have a ‘taste’ and a ‘flavor’ of God, so that everything in their hearts and in their lives speaks of God.”
“Christian wisdom is thus the fruit of a supernatural ‘taste’ for God, an ability to savor his presence, goodness and love all around us,” he continued, encouraging those present to ask themselves whether or not their lives have the “flavor of the Gospel” and if it is really “the Holy Spirit that moves our lives.”
“How much our world needs the witness of such wisdom today!” the Pope exclaimed, insisting that “what is important is that our communities have Christians who, docile to the Holy Spirit, have experienced the things of God and communicated his tenderness and love to others.”
“Let us pray for this gift,” the Pope concluded, “so that, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, we can be true men and women of God, transparently open to his own wisdom and the power of his saving love.”
Preparing for Holy Week
Pope Francis concluded his audience by extending greetings to groups present from various countries around the world and by encouraging all to begin preparing for Holy Week.
“I invite all to intensify the spiritual preparation for the coming feasts of the Passover of the Lord, so that the action of the Holy Spirit produce in us true fruits of conversion and holiness. May God bless you.”