Vatican City, Aug 14, 2016 / 02:37 am
The Church does not need “cold or lukewarm Christians” who are held back by fear, Pope Francis said Sunday; it needs Christians who are on fire with the Holy Spirit and committed to proclaiming the Gospel, even if it costs them their lives.
The Church needs “passionate missionaries, consumed by zeal to bring the consoling Word of Jesus and his grace to everyone,” the Pope said during his weekly Angelus address.
“This is the fire of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If the Church does not receive this fire, or allow it to enter, it becomes a cold or lukewarm Church, incapable of giving life, since it is made of cold or lukewarm Christians.”
The Pope expressed his admiration for the many priests, consecrated, and lay faithful, “who, throughout the world, are dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel with great love and loyalty, often even at the cost of their lives.”
Pope Francis delivered his Aug. 14 address to the crowds who had gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus.
In his address before reciting the Marian prayer, the pontiff reflected on the themes of the day's Gospel reading, specifically on Jesus' words: “I have come to set the earth on fire.” He explained how the fire about which Jesus speaks is that of the “Holy Spirit, the living and working presence in us from the day of our Baptism.”
This fire is a “creative force which purifies and renews,” as it burns away every human misery, egoism, and sin, he said. “It transforms us from within, regenerates us, and makes us capable of love.”
“Jesus wants the Holy Spirit to burn like fire in our hearts, because it is only from the heart that the fire of Divine love can strengthen and advance the Kingdom of God,” he said.