By Jim Fair
“But I wonder, how is the Holy Spirit grieved?”
It is the question Pope Francis addressed in his remarks before praying the noonday Angelus on August 12, 2018, with a crowd of 90,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. It refers to an “urgent invitation” from Saint Paul: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
“We all received Him in Baptism and in Confirmation, therefore, to not grieve the Holy Spirit it’s necessary to live in a consistent manner with the promises of Baptism, renewed in Confirmation,” the Holy Father explained. “In a consistent manner, not with hypocrisy: don’t forget this. A Christian can’t be a hypocrite; he must live in a consistent way. The promises of Baptism have two aspects: the giving up of evil and adherence to the good.
Pope Francis went on to explain the two aspects.
The first aspect involves much saying of “no.” It means saying no to Satan and “fleeing from the real to a false happiness that is expressed in lies, in fraud, in injustice, in contempt for the other.” And Paul exhorts us, the Pope reminded, to reject six harmful vices: bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice.
“These six elements or vices, which disturb the joy of the Holy Spirit, poison the heart and lead to imprecations against God and against one’s neighbor,” the Pope said. “However, it’s not enough not to do evil to be a good Christian; it’s necessary to adhere to the good.”
With that comment, the Pope came to the second aspect of the baptismal promises, the doing of good. He points out the importance of not failing to do the good that one could do.
“Today I exhort you to be protagonists of the good,” Francis said. “Don’t think you are OK when you don’t do evil. Each one is culpable for the good he could have done and didn’t do.
“It’s not enough not to hate; one must forgive.
“It’s not enough not to be resentful; it’s necessary to pray for one’s enemies.
“It’s not enough not to be the cause of divisions; it’s necessary to bring peace where there isn’t peace?
“It’s not enough not to speak badly of others; it’s necessary to interrupt when we hear someone being spoken of badly: to stop the gossip is to do good. If we don’t oppose evil, we fuel it in a tacit way.”
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