What is good in childish cheerfulness
St. Peter's Square
Wednesday 4th June 2014
The gifts of the Holy Spirit: 6. Piety
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we want to deal with a gift of the Holy Spirit that is often misunderstood or viewed only superficially, but which actually affects our identity and our Christian life deeply: it is the gift of piety. It must be made clear immediately that this gift is not to be equated with having pity on someone, feeling piety towards one's neighbor, but rather it indicates our belonging to God and our deep bond with him - a bond that gives meaning to our whole life and who makes us steadfast, in communion with him, even in the most difficult and shocking moments.
This bond with the Lord should not be understood as an obligation or something externally imposed. It's a bond that comes from within. It is a relationship lived with the heart: it is our friendship with God that is given to us by Jesus, a friendship that changes our lives and fills us with enthusiasm, with joy. Therefore, the gift of piety first and foremost evokes praise and gratitude in us. Because that is the reason and the truest purpose of our worship and worship. When the Holy Spirit makes us feel the presence of the Lord and all his love for us, our hearts warm up and naturally bring us to prayer and celebration. So piety is synonymous with a genuine religious spirit, with childlike familiarity with God, with that ability to pray to him in love and simplicity that is inherent in humble people.
If the gift of piety makes us grow in relationship and communion with God and allows us to live as his children, it also helps us to apply this love to others and to recognize them as brothers. Then we are really moved by piety - not by piety! - towards our fellow human beings and those we meet every day. Why do I say: "Not of bigotry"? Because some believe that piety means closing your eyes, putting on a face like a saint, pretending to be like a saint. In Piedmontese we say: »fare la mugna quacia« [pretending to be hypocritical]. That is not the gift of piety. The gift of piety means to be truly able to rejoice with the happy, to weep with the weep, to be close to those who are alone or grieved, to rebuke the erring, to comfort the mourning, to receive and to support the needy help. There is a very close relationship between the gift of piety and meekness. The gift of piety that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us meek, makes us calm, patient, makes us at peace with God, in the service of others with meekness.
Dear friends, im Letter to the Romans says the apostle Paul: “All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit that makes you slaves, so that you still have to fear, but you have received the spirit that makes you sons, the spirit in which we cry: Abba, Father! "(Rom 8.14-15). Let us ask the Lord that the gift of his Spirit will overcome our fears, our insecurities, even our restless, impatient spirit and make us joyful witnesses of God and his love, while we worship the Lord in truth and also in the service of our neighbor, with gentleness and with that smile that the Holy Spirit always gives us in joy. May the Holy Spirit give us all this gift of piety.
* * *
I warmly greet the pilgrims and visitors of the German language and especially the Gospodi choir from the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Kreidler. I wish you a pleasant and stimulating stay here in Rome. May the Holy Spirit guide you on your way.
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