(Vatican Radio) "We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit" who gives us the strength to love, said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning at Santa Marta.
Emer McCarthy reports:
Pope Francis centered his homily on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle describes his experience of Jesus, an experience "that led him to leave everything behind" because "he was in love with Christ." His is an "act of adoration": firstly, he bends his knees before the Father, who "has the power to do much more than we can ever think or ask ". He uses a “limitless language”: He adores this God, "who is like a sea without beaches, without limitations, an immense ocean". Paul asks the Father for all of us, "to be powerfully strengthened in our inner selves, through his Spirit".
"He asks the Father to send the Spirit to strengthen us, to give us strength. We cannot go forward without the power of the Spirit. Our own forces are weak. We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Spirit. It’s the Spirit that changes hearts, that keeps us moving forward in virtue, to fulfill the commandments".
"He then, asks another grace from the Father", "the presence of Christ, to help us grow in charity”. Christ’s love “which surpasses all knowledge”, can only be understood through “an act of adoration of such great immenseness”.
"This is a mystical experience of Paul and it teaches us the prayer of praise and the prayer of adoration. Before our pettiness, our many, selfish interests, Paul bursts out in praise, in this act of worship and asks the Father to send us the Holy Spirit to give us strength and to be able to move forward; he helps us understand the love of Christ and that Christ consolidates us in love. And he says to the Father: 'Thank you, because You are able to do what we do not dare to think'. It is a beautiful prayer ... It is a beautiful prayer".
Pope Francis concluded his homily: "And with this inner life we can understand how Paul gave up everything and considered it all rubbish, in order to gain Christ and be found in Christ. It does us good to think of this, it does us good to worship God. It does us good to praise God, to enter this world of amplitude, of grandeur, generosity and love. It does us good, because then we can move forward in the great commandment - the only commandment, which is the basis of all others - love; love God and love your neighbor".
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