Vatican City, Jun 4, 2014 / 04:23 am
In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis reflected on the gift of piety, explaining that it is not just a superficial feeling, but rather a religious reality that leads us closer to God and to our neighbor.
"In this sense, piety includes the ability of rejoicing with those who are cheerful and of crying with those who cry, of reaching out to those who are alone or anxious, to correct those who err, to console the afflicted, to care for and help those who happen to be in need," the Pope told those gathered in St. Peter's Square June 4.
Continuing his catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis began his weekly address stating that "we now turn to the gift of piety."
"Through this spiritual gift we experience ever anew, with joy and gratitude, the loving relationship with God our Father which has been granted us in Jesus his Son," the pontiff noted, adding that "It is this loving relationship which grounds and perfects our authentic worship of God."
Reflecting on the meaning of the word piety, the Bishop of Rome stated that it "does not have here the superficial sense that we sometimes use: to pity someone. No, it does not have this meaning."
"Piety, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, relates more to our relationship with God," he observed, and "to the authentic religious spirit of filial trust which allows us to pray and worship him with love and simplicity, as a son that speaks with their father."
"It's synonymous for friendship with God; that friendship into which Jesus introduces us, and that changes our lives and fills our soul with joy and peace."
Going on, Pope Francis explained that the love "poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit" helps us "to perceive the Lord's presence and love in our lives, and moves us to respond joyfully in prayer and adoration."
"This gift of the Holy Spirit," he said, "makes us live as true sons of God, and also leads us to love our neighbor and to recognize him as a brother."
Explaining how this sense of being a child of God allows us to truly care for others in both joy and sorrow, the Roman Pontiff prayed that "we may always be ready to offer a helping hand to others."
He expressed hope that we be able to do this "in the joyful awareness of that solidarity which is born of our communion with God in the unity of Christ's body, the Church."
"We ask the Lord that this gift of his Spirit overcome our fears and doubts, and helps us to become courageous witnesses of the Gospel," he said, praying that the Heart of Jesus, "which the month of June is particularly dedicated to, teach us to love God as children and our neighbors as brothers."
Following his general audience address, Pope Francis extended personal greetings to pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including groups from England and Wales, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States, Spain, Argentina, México, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.