Speaking to pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican for Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis noted that St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians shows his role as a great evangeliser, theologian, and pastor.
The pope pointed out how he helps us discover “the shocking newness contained in the revelation of Jesus Christ,” contemplating the mystery of Christ and sharing it with “creative intelligence” with those to whom he preached.
At the same time, he ably guided and encouraged a lost and confused community at the time with great pastoral sensitivity, the pope observed, showing how the strength of the Spirit had “truly entered his heart” and how his meeting with the Risen Christ transformed his entire life.
Defending the freedom of Christ
The pope emphasized the passion Saint Paul showed in defending the freedom that Christ brought—a passion that “still moves us today.”
With great conviction, Paul responded to the call he received to preach the Gospel, the Pope went on to say.
Saint Paul pointed out to the Galatians that they, too, were called to the freedom that liberates them from every form of slavery by making them heirs of the ancient promise and children of God through Christ.
Summing up what Paul teaches, the pope said, “The fulfillment of the true Law is found in this life of the Spirit given to us by Jesus. And this life of the Spirit can only be lived in freedom: Christian freedom.”
Walking according to the Spirit
Summing up this catechetical journey on the Letter to the Galatians, the pope said the apostle’s teaching generates enthusiasm, being drawn to follow the way of freedom and “to walk according to the Spirit,” which always makes us free.
At the same time, he noted, we become more aware of our weaknesses as we see how challenging it is to be “docile to the Spirit, to surrender to His beneficial action.”
But we cannot let discouragement set in, the pope said, recalling the gospel episode of the disciples in the boat at the moment of the storm, when the apostles woke Christ up to save them.
In these very difficult moments of life, we need to “wake up Christ who is within us,” adding, “We must rouse Christ in our hearts and only then will we be able to contemplate things with His eyes for He sees beyond the storm.”
Calling on the Holy Spirit
The pope also said we should never grow weary of doing good, and we can always trust the Spirit will come to assist us in our weakness and give us the support we need.
Therefore, we need to “learn to invoke the Holy Spirit more often,” he said, and one of the great ways to do that is to recite often “the beautiful prayer” the Church recites on Pentecost: “Come, Holy Spirit”.
With the presence of the Spirit, the pope said, “we will protect our freedom,” since “Christian freedom is what makes us grow” and makes true joy comes forth. Thaddeus Jones/Vatican News
Image courtesy of Vatican Media