During his catechesis for the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis described the gift of piety received from the Holy Spirit, saying not to confuse it with pity. He described piety as a friendship with God, given us by Jesus; a friendship that changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy. According to Zenit News Agency, Pope Francis said this gift is often misunderstood as pity.
Pope Francis told thousands gathered for his weekly general Audience that when the Holy Spirit pours love into our hearts we are led to perceive the Lord’s presence and love in our lives. This moves us to respond joyfully in prayer and adoration.
Pope Francis said,
“We experience ever anew, with joy and gratitude, the loving relationship with God our Father which has been granted us in Jesus his Son which grounds and perfects our authentic worship of God.”
Pope Francis clarified that piety is often misunderstood and confused as pity. “However,” he said ,
“piety is not having compassion for someone, having pity for one’s neighbor but indicates our belonging to God and our profound bond with Him. This bond gives meaning to the whole of our life and keeps us firm, in communion with Him, in the most difficult and trying moments.”
He stressed that there are two aspects of piety. First is a bond with the Lord which is not intended as a duty or an imposition. The bond comes from within. Pope Francis explained that it is a relation lived with the heart: it is our friendship with God, given to us by Jesus: a friendship that changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy.
Pope Francis continued:
“When the Holy Spirit makes us perceive the presence of the Lord and all his love for us, He warms our heart and moves us almost naturally to prayer and to celebration,”
The pope stated that the second point of piety makes us grow in relationship and communion with God and leads us to live as his children, helping us to pass this love on to others, recognizing them as our brothers.
Distinguishing piety from pity, Pope Francis stressed that pity does not motivate the faithful in their relationships and encounters.
“Why do I say not to pity? Why do some people think that having compassion is close your eyes, make a face like a little picture, pretend to be a saint,” he said. “This is not the gift of piety.”
Rather, he said,
“piety means to be truly capable of rejoicing with those in joy, to weep with those who weep, to welcome and help those who are in need.”
Pope Francis noted the very close relation between the gift of piety and meekness, he said piety “makes us meek, it makes us tranquil, patient, in peace with God, and at the service of others with meekness.” Meekness is one of the beatitudes.
Recalling Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “All who are led by the Spirit of God ,these are sons of God, and ye have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit adopted as children, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father. ‘” The Apostle Paul’s words still apply to faithful today, he stressed.
The Pope concluded his homily with an invitation. He asked the faithful to ask the Lord that the gift of his Spirit conquer our fear, our uncertainties, also our restless, impatient spirit, rendering us joyful witnesses of God and of his love, adoring the Lord in truth and also in the service of our neighbor, with meekness and with the smile that the Holy Spirit always gives us in joy.
This article was originally posted on June 5, 2014