Papal Preacher: Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Love
This love is the love with which God loves us and by which, at the same time, we are made capable of loving him and our neighbor.
What is meant by the fact that the Holy Spirit descends on the Church on the very day when Israel commemorated the gift of the law and the covenant?
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said this Friday in his second Lenten sermon for 2009, given to the Curia at the Vatican. The theme of the sermon was " The Law of the Spirit That Gives Life: The Holy Spirit, the New Law of Christians."
Pentecost, he pointed out, was not a new feast for the Jews, who celebrated the gift of the law on Mount Sinai and the covenant, but Jesus came to enrich the day with a new meaning.
The preacher asked, "What is meant by the fact that the Holy Spirit descends on the Church on the very day when Israel commemorated the gift of the law and the covenant?"
He answered that the Spirit descends on the apostles on the day of Pentecost "to point out that he is the new law, the spiritual law that seals the new and eternal covenant and that consecrates the royal and priestly people that are the Church."
Thus, he noted, the "law of the Spirit" is "the law that he inscribes in hearts on Pentecost."
Father Cantalamessa explained: "If it was enough to just proclaim the new will of God through the Gospel, it wouldn't explain what need there was for Jesus to die and the Holy Spirit to come.
"But the apostles themselves demonstrated that it was not enough; even though they heard everything, for example that we need to turn the cheek to those who strike us, during the passion they did not have the strength to follow any of Jesus' commandments."
He affirmed that this "new law that is the Spirit" works through love. He added, "This love is the love with which God loves us and by which, at the same time, we are made capable of loving him and our neighbor [...]; it is a new capacity for love."
The Holy Spirit, noted the preacher, "specifically love, is a 'law,' a 'commandment'" that "creates a dynamism within the Christian which bring him to do everything God wants, spontaneously, without even needing to think about it, because he has made God's will his own and he loves everything that God loves."
Love, he said, "cannot substitute the law," but it observes" it and fulfills it. "In fact," he added, "it is the only force that makes it be observed."
The priest continued: "If it is in fact true that love takes care of the law, it is also true that the law take care of love. In different ways the law is at the service of love and defends it."
He explained: "The man that loves, the more intensely he loves, the more he can see the dangers that his love is in; it is danger that does not come from others but from within himself.
"If fact, he knows well that he is changeable and that tomorrow, alas, he could grow tired and not love anymore.
"And since now that he is in love he sees clearly what an irreparable loss this would be, he guards against it by 'tying himself' to love with the law. In this way he anchors his act of love, which happens in time, to eternity."
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- What a Day! What a Way, the Easter Way, Alleluia!
- The Surprise of Easter
- Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis: Let the Risen Jesus Enter Your Life
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- The Resurrecting Power of Mercy
- On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Reflection: Let us Apply the Splint of the Cross to our Fractured Freedom
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2013
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 4/1/2013
Have you have heard the old adage, used often in a disparaging way, He´s so heavenly he is no earthly good. I suggest again that it misses the mark completely. We are Easter people. We are called to ...Continue Reading
Fr. Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
To make sure that all mankind knows that it is not over but actually just beginning, God has an Easter bombshell. While we may have been able to anticipate the wondrous joy of a day of resurrection, ...Continue Reading
Pope Francis - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »