Vatican City, May 29, 2019 / 04:16 am (CNA).- The Holy Spirit is what gives power, life, and dynamism to evangelization, not good rhetorical skills, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
According to St. Luke – Pope Francis said – the words of men become effective not thanks to rhetoric, but thanks to the Holy Spirit, “which has the power to purify the word, to make it the bearer of life.”
The Holy Spirit is what makes the Bible different from a written history, he said at the general audience May 29. The Holy Spirit “helps us to make that word a seed of holiness, a seed of life, to be effective.”
“When the Spirit visits the human word it becomes dynamic, like ‘dynamite,’ that is, capable of lighting hearts and blowing up patterns, resistances and walls of division, opening up new paths and expanding the boundaries of God’s people,” he emphasized.
After a months-long series of reflections on the Our Father, Pope Francis shifted gears into a course of catecheses on the Acts of the Apostles.
This book of the Bible, written by St. Luke the Evangelist, recounts what happens following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the pope said.
“The narrative plot of the Acts of the Apostles starts right here,” he said, “from the overabundance of the life of the Risen One transfused into his Church.”
The Acts of the Apostles, he explained, tells of “the journey of the Gospel in the world and shows us the marvelous union between the Word of God and the Holy Spirit that inaugurates the time of evangelization.”
Contrary to what might be imagined, he said the protagonists of the Acts of the Apostles are not the apostles, but “the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.”
Pope Francis reflected on the “the promise of the Father,” communicated to the apostles through Jesus: that “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.”
“The baptism in the Holy Spirit, in fact, is the experience that allows us to enter into a personal communion with God and to participate in his universal salvific will,” he said.
“There is therefore no struggle to earn or merit the gift of God,” he added. “Everything is given for free and in due time. The Lord gives everything for free, freely. Salvation is not bought, you do not pay, it is a free gift.”
Francis also underlined that the apostles gathered in the upper room, together with Mary and other women, to pray with “perseverance.”
“In fact, it is through prayer that one overcomes loneliness, temptation, suspicion and opens one’s heart to communion,” he said.
“We also ask the Lord for patience in waiting for his steps,” he stated, “to not want to ‘manufacture’ his work and to remain docile by praying, invoking the Spirit and cultivating the art of ecclesial communion.”