By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
On the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles, and the disciples were united in prayer with Mary, “the history of Christian holiness began becausethe Holy Spirit is the font of holiness”, the Pope said before the weekly recitation of the Regina Coeli with thousands gathered in St Peter's Square.
All called to be holy
Quoting his recently released Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate, Pope Francis reminded us that “The Holy Spirit bestows holiness in abundance among God’s holy and faithful people” (Article, 6). By Baptism and Confirmation, we are all called to live the Christian call to holiness and to become witnesses of the divine life within us, the Pope said.
Plan of holiness announced through the prophets
Pope Francis continued saying that both the Prophets Ezekiel and Joel prophesied God’s plan that all would be holy. “I will put my spirit within you…. You will be my people”, Ezekiel said. Joel prophesied : “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy”. The Pope concluded that all of these prophesies have been “accomplished in Jesus Christ” who is the “mediator and guarantor of the eternal outpouring of the Spirit” (Roman Missal, Preface after the Ascension).
Living in the Spirit
Those who “open themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit” continue the work of holiness begun on Pentecost, the Pope said. The path of holiness in a person’s life manifests itself “in living in a manner worthy of God and makes us experience the fullness of joy”. The Holy Spirit moves those living in the Spirit to “maturity in their relationship with God and neighbor”, manifesting the gifts that St Paul describes in the letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).
Desire for holiness
The Pope concluded his Regina Caeli message praying through the intercession of Mary that there be a renewed Pentecost for the Church. “May we be granted the joy of living and witnessing to the Gospel and that we might be infused with 'a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory' ” (Gaudete et exsultate, 177).
Message for World Mission Sunday
Before greeting specific groups of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis announced that the message for World Mission Sunday is being published today. In conjunction with this, the Pope expressed his appreciation for the work of the Holy Childhood Association, also known as the Missionary Childhood Association, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. He expressed his thanks to and encouragement for “all the children who participate in diffusing the Gospel throughout the world”.