During his General Audience address Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke on the gift of fortitude, explaining that it helps us to remain faithful not only with the big things, but also in our daily activities.
“We shouldn't think this gift is only for extraordinary circumstances,” the Pope noted in his May 14 audience, because “For most of us, the gift of fortitude is exercised in our patient pursuit of holiness in the circumstances of our daily lives.”
Continuing his catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Roman Pontiff observed how in the past few weeks “we have seen that the first three gifts of the Spirit – wisdom, understanding and counsel – enable us to contemplate God’s loving plan and to know his will.”
Now “we turn to the gift of fortitude” he said, through which “we receive the strength to do God’s will in spite of our own natural weakness and limitations.”
“In our lives we frequently experience fragility, our limitations and shortcomings;” however “with the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome weakness, so that we are able to respond to the love of the Lord.”
Drawing attention to the Gospel parable of the sower and the seed, the Bishop of Rome recalled how Jesus taught that “the seed of God’s word sown in our hearts can encounter not only interior resistance, but also be choked by life’s sufferings and trials.”
By the gift of fortitude “the Holy Spirit enables us to remain faithful amid every difficulty and – as the experience of so many Christians around the world shows – even amid persecution and martyrdom,” he observed, but “this is only possible by the action of the Holy Spirit that infuses fortitude and trust.”
“In our everyday lives the Holy Spirit also makes us feel the closeness of the Lord, sustains us and fortifies in the fatigues and trials of life, so that we won't be led into the temptation of discouragement,” the Bishop of Rome observed.
“But for all of this to be a reality, it is necessary that humility of heart be united to the gift of fortitude.”
Concluding, Pope Francis explained that whenever we feel tired or burdened on our journey, we can “ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the gift of fortitude, to refresh us and to guide our steps with renewed enthusiasm.”
“We ask the Virgin Mary that by her intercession, the Holy Spirit grants us the gift of fortitude so that we may always follow Jesus with joy and perseverance.”
Following his catechesis Pope Francis lamented the climbing death toll, currently at 17, of those migrants who lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea earlier this week when a boat carrying around 400 migrants capsized, exclaiming that these “shameful carnages” need to stop.
He also offered prayers and solidarity to the victims of a mine explosion yesterday in Soma, Turkey and their families. So far more than 200 miners have been confirmed dead, while many are still trapped in the underground tunnels where the fire is still burning, obscuring rescue efforts and stifling the hope of finding survivors.
Entreating those in attendance to also offer their prayers, the Pope asked that "the Lord receive the deceased in his house and give comfort to their families.”