Papal Homily at Vigil With New Movements
"The Spirit Blows Where He Wills. But His Will Is Unity"
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave June 3, the eve of Pentecost, when he met with ecclesial movements and new communities in St. Peter's Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
You have come to St. Peter's Square this evening in really large numbers to take part in the Pentecost Vigil. I warmly thank you. You belong to different peoples and cultures and represent here all the members of the ecclesial movements and new communities, spiritually gathered round the Successor of Peter to proclaim the joy of believing in Jesus Christ and to renew the commitment to be faithful disciples in our time.
I thank you for your participation and address my cordial greeting to each one of you. My affectionate thoughts go in the first place to the cardinals, to my venerable brothers in the episcopate and in the priesthood and to the men and women religious.
I greet those in charge of your numerous ecclesial associations who show how alive the Holy Spirit's action is among the People of God. I greet the organizers of this extraordinary event, and especially those who work at the Pontifical Council for the Laity with Bishop Josef Clemens, the secretary, and Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, the president, to whom I am also grateful for his cordial words at the beginning of the Vespers Liturgy.
A similar meeting that took place in this same Square on May 30, 1998, with beloved Pope John Paul II springs to mind. A great evangelizer of our time, he accompanied and guided you throughout his pontificate.
He described your associations and communities on many occasions as "providential," especially because the Sanctifying Spirit makes use of them to reawaken faith in so many Christian hearts and to reveal to them the vocation they have received with baptism. He also helps them to be witnesses of hope filled with that fire of love which is bestowed upon us precisely by the Holy Spirit.
Let us ask ourselves now, at this Pentecost Vigil, who or what is the Holy Spirit? How can we recognize him? How do we go to him and how does he come to us? What does he do?
The Church's great Pentecostal hymn with which we began Vespers, "Veni, Creator Spiritus ... Come, Holy Spirit," gives us a first answer. Here the hymn refers to the first verses of the Bible that describe the creation of the universe with recourse to images.
The Bible says first of all that the Spirit of God was moving over the chaos, over the waters of the abyss.
The world in which we live is the work of the Creator Spirit. Pentecost is not only the origin of the Church and thus in a special way her feast; Pentecost is also a feast of creation. The world does not exist by itself; it is brought into being by the creative Spirit of God, by the creative Word of God.
For this reason Pentecost also mirrors God's wisdom. In its breadth and in the omni-comprehensive logic of its laws, God's wisdom permits us to glimpse something of his Creator Spirit. It elicits reverential awe.
Those very people who, as Christians, believe in the Creator Spirit become aware of the fact that we cannot use and abuse the world and matter merely as material for our actions and desires; that we must consider creation a gift that has not been given to us to be destroyed, but to become God's garden, hence, a garden for men and women.
In the face of the many forms of abuse of the earth that we see today, let us listen, as it were, to the groaning of creation of which St. Paul speaks (Romans 8:22); let us begin by understanding the Apostle's words, that creation waits with impatience for the revelation that we are children of God, to be set free from bondage and obtain his splendor.
Dear friends, we want to be these children of God for whom creation is waiting, and we can become them because the Lord has made us such in baptism. Yes, creation and history -- they are waiting for us, for men and women who are truly children of God and behave as such.
If we look at history, we see that creation prospered around monasteries, just as with the reawakening of God's Spirit in human hearts the brightness of the Creator Spirit has also been restored to the earth -- a splendor that has been clouded and at times even extinguished by the barbarity of the human mania for power.
Moreover, the same thing happened once again around Francis of Assisi -- it has happened everywhere as God's Spirit penetrates souls, this Spirit whom our hymn describes as light, love and strength.
Thus, we have discovered an initial answer to the question as to what the Holy Spirit is, what he does and how we can recognize him. He comes to meet us through creation and its beauty.
However, in the course of ...
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