.- Pope Benedict XVI returned, for a third time this week, to the figure of St. Paul during his weekly General Audience catechesis. The Holy Father reflected on St. Paul’s writings on the Holy Spirit which, he said, marks the very identity of Christians.
“Having meditated last week upon St. Paul's writings concerning Jesus Christ's central position in our life of faith," the Pope began, "today we consider what he says about the Holy Spirit."
"St. Paul, in his Letters ... does not limit himself to explaining just the dynamic and active role of the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, but also analyzes the presence of the Spirit in the lives of Christians, whose identity is thereby marked. In other words, Paul reflects upon the Spirit, explaining its influence not only upon the activities of Christians but also upon their being.”
Quoting the words of St. Paul, the Holy Father said: "You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship." It is clear then, the Pope said, "that Christians, even before they act, possess a rich and fruitful inner life ... that instates them in a ... filial relationship with God. This is our greatest dignity, that of being not just the image but the children of God," which, in turn, "is an invitation to transform this objective gift into a subjective reality, that determines our way of thinking, acting and being."
"Paul also teaches us," the Holy Father continued, "that there is no true prayer without the presence of the Spirit within us." The Spirit is, "like the soul of our soul, the most secret part of our being, whence a prayer incessantly rises towards God."
"Another aspect of the Spirit,” the Holy Father noted, “is its association with love. The Spirit introduces us into the very rhythm of divine life, which is a life of love. And since by definition love unites, this means, above all, that the Spirit is a creator of communion within the Christian community."
"Finally, the Spirit, according to St. Paul, is a generous down payment given us by God Himself as a foretaste and guarantee of our future inheritance. The action of the Spirit guides our lives towards the great values of love, joy, communion, and hope."