1 2 HOLY MASS WITH THE OPENING OF THE ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS Saint Peter's Square - St. Francis of Assisi - Wednesday, 4 October 2023 HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light. The Gospel we have just heard is preceded by the account of a difficult moment in Jesus’ mission, which we might call one of “pastoral desolation”. John the Baptist doubts that Jesus is really the Messiah; so many cities he passed through, despite the wonders he performed, were not converted; people accuse him of being a glutton and a drunkard, whereas they had just complained about the Baptist because he was too austere (cf. Mt 11:2-24). Yet we see that Jesus does not let himself be overcome by sadness, but instead lifts his eyes to heaven and blesses the Father for he has revealed the 3 mysteries of the Kingdom of God to the simple: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants” (Mt 11:25). In the moment of desolation, then, Jesus has a gaze capable of seeing beyond: he praises the wisdom of the Father and is able to discern the good that grows unseen, the seed of the Word welcomed by the simple, the light of the Kingdom of God that shows the way even in the night. Dear brother Cardinals, brother Bishops, sisters and brothers, we are at the opening of the General Assembly of the Synod. Here we do not need a purely natural vision, made up of human strategies, political calculations or ideological battles. If the Synod allows this to happen, the “other one” will open the door to it. This we do not need. We are not here to carry out a parliamentary meeting or a plan of reformation. The Synod, dear brothers and sisters, is not a parliament. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist. We are not here to form a parliament but to walk together with the gaze of Jesus, who blesses the Father and welcomes those who are weary and oppressed. So let us start from the gaze of Jesus, which is a blessing and welcoming gaze. 1. Let us look at the first aspect: a gaze that blesses. Though having experienced rejection and having seen around him so much hardness of heart, Christ does not let himself be imprisoned by disappointment, he does not become bitter, he does not cease to praise; his heart, founded on the primacy of the Father, remains serene even in the storm. This gaze of the Lord that blesses also invites us to be a Church that, with a glad heart, contemplates God's action and discerns the present. And which, amid the sometimes agitated waves of our time, does not lose heart, does not seek ideological loopholes, does not barricade itself behind preconceived notions, does not give in to convenient solutions, does not let the world dictate its agenda. This is the spiritual wisdom of the Church, summarized with serenity by Saint John XXIII: “It is necessary first of all that the Church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers. But at the same time she must ever look to the present, to the new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world which have opened new avenues to the Catholic apostolate” (Address for the Solemn Opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 11 October 1962). 4 Jesus’ gaze that blesses invites us to be a Church that does not face today’s challenges and problems with a divisive and contentious spirit but, on the contrary, turns its eyes to God who is communion and, with awe and humility, blesses and adores him, recognizing him as its only Lord. We belong to him and – let us remember – we exist only to bring him to the world. As the Apostle Paul told us, we have no other “glory except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14). This is enough for us; he is enough for us. We do not want earthly glory; we do not want to make ourselves attractive in the eyes of the world, but to reach out to it with the consolation of the Gospel, to bear witness to God’s infinite love, in a better way and to everyone. Indeed, as Benedict XVI said, precisely when speaking to a synod assembly, “the question for us is this: God has spoken, he has truly broken the great silence, he has shown himself, but how can we communicate this reality to the people of today, so that it becomes salvation?” (Meditation, First General Congregation of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 8 October 2012). This is the fundamental question. And this is the primary task of the Synod: to refocus our gaze on God, to be a Church that looks mercifully at humanity. A Church that is united and fraternal – or at least seeks to be united and fraternal –, that listens and dialogues; a Church that blesses and encourages, that helps those who seek the Lord, that lovingly stirs up the indifferent, that opens paths in order to draw people into the beauty of faith. A Church that has God at its centre and, therefore, is not divided internally and is never harsh externally. A Church that takes a risk in following Jesus. This is how Jesus wants the Church, his Bride, to be. 2. After reflecting on the gaze that blesses, let us now look at the welcoming gaze of Christ. While those who think themselves wise fail to recognize the work of God, Jesus rejoices in the Father because he reveals himself to the little ones, the simple, the poor in spirit. Once the there was a problem in a parish and it was being spoken about by the people. This is what they were telling me. A very elderly lady, a lady of the people who was practically illiterate, intervened, as if she was a theologian, and with great meekness and spiritual wisdom offered her insight. I remember with joy that moment as a revelation from the Lord. It came to mind to ask her: “Tell me, madam, where did you study theology, with Royo Marín, who was a great theologian?” The wise among us have this type of faith. Throughout his life, Jesus takes on this welcoming gaze toward the weakest, the suffering and the discarded. To 5 them in particular, he addresses the words we heard: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). This welcoming gaze of Jesus also invites us to be a welcoming Church, not one with closed doors. In such a complex time as ours, new cultural and pastoral challenges emerge that call for a warm and kindly inner attitude so that we can encounter each other without fear. In synodal dialogue, in this beautiful “journey in the Holy Spirit” that we are making together as the People of God, we can grow in unity and friendship with the Lord in order to look at today’s challenges with his gaze; to become, using a fine expression of Saint Paul VI, a Church that “makes itself a conversation” (Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam suam, 65). A Church “with a gentle yoke” (cf. Mt 11:30), which does not impose burdens and which repeats to everyone: “Come, you who are weary and oppressed, come, you who have lost your way or feel far away, come, you who have closed the doors to hope: the Church is here for you!” The doors of the Church are open to everyone, everyone, everyone! 3. Brothers and sisters, holy People of God, in the face of the difficulties and challenges that lie ahead, the blessing and welcoming gaze of Jesus prevents us from falling into some dangerous temptations: of being a rigid Church – a 6 customs post –, which arms itself against the world and looks backward; of being a lukewarm Church, which surrenders to the fashions of the world; of being a tired Church, turned in on itself. In the Book of Revelation, the Lord says, “I stand at the door and knock so that it may be opened”; but often, brothers and sisters, he stands at the door knocking but from within the Church so that we may allow him to go out with the Church to proclaim his Gospel. Let us walk together: humble, fervent and joyful. Let us walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi, the saint of poverty and peace, the “fool of God” who bore in his body the stigmata of Jesus and, in order to clothe himself with him, stripped himself of everything. How difficult it is for all of us to carry out this interior and exterior self-emptying. The same is true for institutions. Saint Bonaventure relates that while he was praying, the Crucified One said to him, “Go and repair my church” (Legenda maior, II, 1). The Synod serves to remind us of this: our Mother the Church is always in need of purification, of being “repaired”, for we are a people made up of forgiven sinners – both elements: forgiven sinners –, always in need of returning to the source that is Jesus and putting ourselves back on the paths of the Spirit to reach everyone with his Gospel. Francis of Assisi, in a time of great struggles and divisions, between temporal and religious powers, between the institutional Church and heretical currents, between Christians and other believers, did not criticize or lash out at anyone. He took up only the weapons of the Gospel: humility and unity, prayer and charity. Let us do the same: humility, unity, prayer and charity! And if God's holy people with their shepherds from all over the world have expectations, hopes and even some fears about the Synod we are beginning, let us continue to remember that it is not a political gathering, but a convocation in the Spirit; not a polarized parliament, but a place of grace and communion. The Holy Spirit often shatters our expectations to create something new that surpasses our predictions and negativity. Perhaps I can say that the more fruitful moments of the Synod are those connected to prayer, an atmosphere of prayer, through which the Lord works in us. Let us open ourselves to him and call upon him, the protagonist, the Holy Spirit. Let us allow him to be the protagonist of the Synod! And let us walk with him, in trust and with joy. 7 OPENING OF XVI ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS “FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION AND MISSION” ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS Brothers and sisters, good afternoon! I greet you all, with whom we begin this synodal journey. I like to remember that it was Saint Paul VI who said that the Church in the West had lost the idea of synodality, and for this reason created the Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, which has held many meetings, many Synods on various themes. But the expression of synodality is not yet mature. I remember that I was a secretary in one of these Synods, and the Cardinal Secretary – a good Belgian missionary, very good – when I was preparing for the votes, came to look. “What are you doing?” – “What needs to be voted on tomorrow”. “What is it? No, we don’t vote on this”. “But look, it is synodal”. “No, no, we don’t vote”. Because then we still did not have the habit that everyone must express themselves freely. And so, slowly, over almost sixty years, the journey has taken this direction, and now we are able to arrive at this Synod on synodality. 8 It is not easy, but it is good, it is very good. A Synod that all the bishops of the world wanted. In the survey that was carried out after the Synod for Amazonia, among all the world’s bishops, the second preference was this: synodality. In first place came priests, and in the third, I think a social question. But [this was] in second place. All the bishops in the world saw the need to reflect on synodality. Why? Because they had all understood that the fruit was ripe for something of this nature. And with this spirit we start working today. And I like to say that the Synod is not a parliament, it is something else; that the Synod is not a meeting of friends to resolve some issues of the moment or to give opinions, it is something else. Do not forget, brothers and sisters, that we are not the protagonists of the Synod: it is the Holy Spirit. And if the Spirit who guides us is in our midst, it will be a good Synod. If among us there are other ways of going forward, for human, personal, or ideological interests, it will not be a Synod, it will be a more parliamentary meeting, which is another thing. A Synod is a journey the Holy Spirit makes. You have been given some papers with patristic texts that will help you in the opening of the Synod. They are taken from Saint Basil, who wrote that beautiful treatise on the Holy Spirit. Why? Because it is necessary to understand this reality, which is not easy; it is not easy. When, on the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the Synod, some theologians prepared a letter which I signed, it was a good step forward. But now we must find the explanation on this road. We are not the protagonists of the Synod; it is the Holy Spirit, and if we leave room for the Holy Spirit, the Synod will go well. You have been given these papers on Saint Basil in various languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, so you have this in your hands. I will not mention these texts, on which I ask you to then reflect and meditate. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of ecclesial life: the plan for the salvation of humanity is fulfilled by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is He who plays the decisive role. If we do not understand this, we will be like those people in the Acts of the Apostles: “Have you received the Holy Spirit?”. “What is the Holy Spirit? We haven’t even heard of it” (cf. 19:1-2). We must understand that He is the protagonist of the life of the Church; it is He who guides it forward. 9 The Holy Spirit triggers a profound and varied dynamism in the church community: the “commotion” of Pentecost. It is curious what happens at Pentecost: everything was well arranged, everything was clear... That morning there was a commotion, all languages are spoken, everyone understood... But one does not quite understand what its variety means... And after this, the great work of the Holy Spirit: not unity, no; harmony. He unites us in harmony, the harmony of all differences. If there is no harmony, there is no Spirit: it is He who does that. Then, the third text that can help: the Holy Spirit is the harmonic composer of salvation history. Harmony - let us be careful - does not mean “synthesis”, but “bond of communion between dissimilar parts”. If we in this Synod end up with a declaration that is all the same, all the same, without nuances, the Spirit is not there, He has been left out. He makes that harmony which is not synthesis, it is a bond of communion between dissimilar parts. The Church, a single harmony of voices, in many voices, in many voices, conducted by the Holy Spirit: this is how we must conceive of the Church. Every Christian community, every person has their own particularity, but these particularities must be integrated into the symphony of the Church, 10 and that correct symphony is made by the Spirit: we cannot make it. We are not a parliament, we are not the United Nations, no, it is something else. The Holy Spirit is the origin of harmony between the Churches. What Saint Basil says to his brother bishops is interesting: “Just as we esteem your mutual concord and unity as our good, so too we invite you to share in our sufferings caused by divisions and not to separate us from you because we are far apart by location and place, but, because we are united in communion according to the Spirit, to welcome us into the harmony of one body”. The Holy Spirit leads us by the hand and comforts us. The presence of the Spirit is, if I may say so, almost maternal, like a mother who leads us, who gives us this consolation. The Consoler is one of the names of the Spirit. The consoling action of the Holy Spirit is portrayed by the innkeeper to whom the man is entrusted after being robbed by brigands (cf. Lk 10:34-35): Basil interprets that parable of the Good Samaritan, and in the inn-keeper he sees the Holy Spirit who allows the good will of one man and the sin of another to go in a harmonious way. Moreover, the One who guards the Church is the Holy Spirit. Then, the Holy Spirit has a multifaceted paracletic way of working. We must learn to listen to the voices of the Spirit: they are all different. Learn to discern. And then, the Spirit is the One who makes the Church. There is a very important link between the Word and the Spirit. We can think about this: the Word and the Spirit. Scripture, the Liturgy, and ancient tradition tell us about the “sadness” of the Holy Spirit, and one of the things that saddens the Holy Spirit the most are empty words. Empty words, worldly words, and – stooping a little to a certain human but not good habit - chatter. Chatter is the anti-Holy Spirit, it is contrary to Him. It is a very common disease among us. And empty words sadden the Holy Spirit. "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (cf. Eph 4:30). What a great evil it is to sadden the Holy Spirit of God, need we say? Gossip, backbiting: this saddens the Holy Spirit. It is the most common disease in the Church, gossip. And if we do not let Him cure us of this disease, it will hardly be a good synodal path. At least in here: if you don't agree with 11 what that bishop or that nun or that layman there says, say it to his face. That is why it is a synod. To tell the truth, not to gossip from beneath the table. The Holy Spirit confirms us in faith. It is He who does so continually… These texts of Saint Basil, read them: they are in your language, because I think they will help us to make room for the Spirit in our hearts. I repeat: it is not a parliament; it is not a pastoral meeting for the Church. This is a synodos: walking together is the programme. We have done many things, as His Eminence said: consultation, all of this, with the People of God. But it is the Holy Spirit who takes this in hand, who guides it. If He is not there, this will not yield a good result. I insist on this: please, do not sadden the Spirit. And in your theology, make room for the Holy Spirit. And also in this Synod, to discern the voices of the Spirit from those which are not of the Spirit, which are worldly. In my opinion, the worst ailment we see in the Church today – always, but today as well – is what goes against the Spirit, that is, spiritual worldliness. A spirit, but not holy: worldliness. Beware of this: let us not take the place of the Holy Spirit with worldly things – even good ones, such as good sense: this helps, but the Spirit goes further. We must learn to live in our Church with the Holy Spirit. Remember, reflect on these texts by Saint Basil, which will help us a great deal. Then, I want to say that in this Synod – also to make room for the Holy Spirit – there is the priority of listening, there is this priority. And we must give a message to the press workers, to journalists, who do an excellent job, a very good job. We have to provide a communication that is a reflection of this life in the Holy Spirit. It takes an asceticism – excuse me for speaking to journalists like this – a certain restraint of the public word to protect this. And what is published, let it be in this atmosphere. Some will say – they are saying it – that the bishops are afraid and that is why they do not want journalists to speak. No, the work of journalists is very important. But we must help them to say this, this going in the Spirit. And more than the priority of speaking, there is the priority of listening. And I ask journalists to please make people understand this, so that they know that the priority is listening. When there was the Synod on the family, there was public opinion, formed by our 12 worldliness, that communion was to be granted to the divorced: and this was how we entered the Synod. When there was the Synod for Amazonia, there was public opinion, pressure, regarding the viri probati: we entered under this pressure. Now there are some hypotheses on this Synod: “What will they do?”, “Perhaps the priesthood for women”… I don’t know, these things that they say outside. And they very often say that bishops are afraid of communicating what happens. Therefore, I ask you, communicators, to perform your duties well, correctly, so that the Church and people of good will – the others will say what they like – understand that also in the Church there is the priority of listening. Convey this: it is very important. Thank you for helping us in this “pause” for the Church. The Church has paused, just as the Apostles paused after Good Friday, on that Holy Saturday, locked away: but they did it out of fear, we do not. But it is paused. It is a pause for all the Church, to listen. This is the most important message. Thank you for your work, thank you for what you do. And do not forget, if you can, read these texts by Saint Basil, which are of great help. Thank you. 13 Patristic texts cited by Pope Francis The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church’s life: the plan of salvation of the human family is fulfilled by the grace of the Spirit Whether we consider ancient times - the blessings of the patriarchs, the help of the Law, the figures, the prophecies, the deeds of war, the miracles performed by the righteous - or the things prepared in view of the Lord's coming in the flesh, (everything was accomplished) by the Spirit. Firstly, the Spirit was with the Lord's own flesh, becoming his inseparable anointing, as it is written: "On whom you have seen the Spirit descend and remain, this is my beloved Son"; and "Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit". Then, all of Christ's actions were carried out under the assistance of the Spirit. The Spirit was present when Christ was subjected to the temptations of the devil [...], while he performed miracles [...]. After his resurrection from the dead, he never left him again. In his desire to renew man and give him back the grace he had received through the breath of God and had lost, what did Christ mean when he breathed on his disciples? "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, are forgiven them; whose sins you retain are retained". And isn't the setting in order of the Church clearly and undeniably carried out by the Spirit? In fact, he gave the Church - he says - " first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers; after them, miraculous powers; then gifts of healings, helpful acts, guidance, various kinds of tongues". This order is in line with the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit (Bas., Spir. 16, 39, 4-32). a. The Holy Spirit ignites a profound and varied dynamic in the ecclesial community: the 'tumult' of Pentecost But the coming of the Holy Spirit also takes place at the third hour, as we learn from Acts, because when the Pharisees mocked the disciples (who expressed themselves) in the manifold energy of tongues (ἐν τῇ ποικίλῃ τῶν γλωσσῶν ἐνεργείᾳ), Peter says that those who say these things are not drunk: it was indeed the third hour. (Bas. [?], ascet. 13: PG 31, 877, 24) b. The Holy Spirit is the harmonic composer of salvation history: harmony does not mean a summation but rather the bond of communion between dissimilar parts But God, before existed any of the things we now see, as He was conceiving and was beginning to bring into being what did not yet exist, at the same time, conceived how the world had to be, and created the matter that harmonised with His idea. To the heavens he attributed its appropriated nature; to the form of the earth he gave the 14 essence proper and due to it. He then gave form to fire, water and air, as he willed, and brought them into existence according to the reason being that each of the elements demanded. With an indissoluble bond of concord, he united the whole world, made up of different parts, in a single communion and harmony, so that even the elements placed at the greatest distance from each other seemed united by affinity. (Bas., hex. 2,49-61) - The Church: a single harmony in many voices brought about by the Holy Spirit "The voice of nations among the mountains, like voice of many nations, voice of kings and nations gathered together" (Is 13:4). The voice of the many nations on the mountains is probably the Church. That's why it was chosen a flat mountain, so that it would have free space for the gathering of the crowds of those who ascend to the heights of the knowledge of God. That's why he sees on the flat mountain a great crowd of people from many places with one voice of faith. And the Holy Spirit says through the Prophet: "The voice of many nations on the mountains (on which the sign was erected) is like (that of) many nations. And the voice is unique, but it is similar to the many voices of the nations. Unique, therefore, according to the harmony (symphony) of faith, but similar to many voices because it was distributed in tongues of fire by the Holy Spirit over each of the Apostles who were about to sow the Gospel among the nations of the earth. (Bas. [?], En. in Is. 13, 259: PG 30, 573B) 15 - The Holy Spirit is at the origin of harmony between the Churches: Basil to his brother bishops of the West Therefore, just as we consider for our own good, our mutual harmony and unity, so we urge you to share the sufferings due to the divisions, and not to separate each other because of our distance, but to embrace one another in harmony [symphony] in one body because we are united in the communion according to the spirit. (Bas., ep. 90, 1, 26-32) c. The Holy Spirit leads us by the hand and comforts us "Expect affliction upon affliction, and hope upon hope, yet a little while, yet a little" (Is 28:10). In this way, the Holy Spirit is able to comfort (lit.: ψυχαγωγεῖν = to lead by the hand, to encourage, to console) his children whom he nourishes with the promise of the future. After affliction, indeed, there is hope: the expected realities are within reach (Bas., ep. 140, 1, 34-38). - The consoling action of the Holy Spirit depicted by the innkeeper, to whom is entrusted the man who has run into robbers (cf. Lk 10, 25-37) Wherefore, we have need of God's dew, that we might not be burned up or become unfruitful; and that where we have an Accuser, we would also have the Advocate [Paraclete]. And so the Lord entrusted His human nature of the Holy Spirit. It had fallen in with robbers, but He had pity on it and bound it its wounds, giving it also two royal denarii, that having received through the Spirit the image and inscription of the Father and the Son, we might make the denarius entrusted to us productive, thereby returning to the Lord the increase in denarii (Iren., haer. III, 17, 3). - He who guards us is the Holy Spirit When, therefore, the soul bears fruit worthy of the eternal barns (cf. Mt 3:12), (the Spirit) remains close by and (guards) and drives away the attacks of wild boars (cf. Ps 74:14). (Bas. [?], En. on Is 1:20: PG 30, 152C-153A) - The multiple paracletic work of the Holy Spirit If the Holy Spirit encounters a tax collector who has faith, he makes him an evangelist (cf. Mt 9:9); if he encounters a fisherman, he turns him into a theologian (cf. Mt 4:19); if he encounters a repentant persecutor, he transforms him into an apostle for the Gentiles, a proclaimer of the faith, a vessel of choice (cf. Acts 9:15). Through him, the 16 weak become strong, the poor become rich, uneducated laymen (cf. Acts 4:13) become wiser than the wise. Paul was weak, but through the presence of the Spirit, his personal linen brought healing to those who received it (cf. Acts 19:12). And Peter himself had a weak body, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit who dwelt in him, the shadow that came out of his body chased away the illnesses of those who were weak (cf. Acts 5:15). Peter and John were poor, they had no silver or gold (cf. Acts 3:6), but they gave health more valuable than many gold coins. The lame man, after receiving gold from many, was still a beggar, but after receiving Peter's favour, he stopped begging, leaping like a deer and praising God. John didn't know the wisdom of the world, but by the power of the Spirit, he spoke words that no wisdom can look upon. The Spirit dwells in heaven, has filled the earth, is present everywhere and is not contained anywhere. The Spirit dwells entirely in each person and entirely within God. He performs the service of providing his gifts, but he doesn't play the role of a servant, on the contrary, he distributes his graces with his own authority: in fact, "he distributes", says Scripture, "his gifts at will to each individual" (1 Cor 12:11). He is sent according to the plan of redemption, but he acts with complete independence. Let us ask him to be present in our souls and not to abandon us under any circumstances, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. (Bas., fid. 3) d. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes us Church "Hear this, all nations, give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both the earthborn and the sons of men, rich one and needy one together" (Ps 49:2-3). For the one who, calling us from the most diverse places, brings about unity, makes us the Church (ὁ 17 ἐκκλησιάζων) and summons all with the proclamation (τῷ κηρύγματι), is the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17), who gathers together all who are saved through the prophets and the apostles. Their sound went out to all the earth, and his words to the ends of the world their utterances (Ps 18:5): Hear this, all nations and all inhabitants of the world (Ps 48:2). This is also why the Church is made up of people from all walks of life, so that no one is excluded from benefiting (Bas., hom. in Ps. 48: PG 29, 433, 9-18). Thus, the Spirit is truly the place of the saints. And the saint is, in turn, a place familiar to the Spirit, because he offers himself to dwell with God and is also called his temple (Bas., Spir. 26, 62, 22-24). - Ingratitude and indocility grieve the Holy Spirit who dwells in us Therefore, because the Spirit is in you - if it is true that he is completely in you - and because he instructs and guides us, who were blind, in choosing what is useful for us, you won't be harmed in your right and holy opinion of him. In fact, the height of disloyalty is to make the benefactor's benevolence an occasion for ingratitude (ἀφορμὴν ἀχαριστίας). "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" (Eph 4:30). Listen to what Stephen says, offered as the first fruits of the martyrs, when he reproaches the people for disobedience and insubordination: "You," he says, "are always resisting the Holy Spirit". And Isaiah: "They have provoked the Holy Spirit, therefore, he turned to them en enmity". And in another passage: "The house of Jacob has angered the Spirit of the Lord". (Bas., Spir. 19: 50, 5-17) - Empty words sadden the Holy Spirit Question 23. When can we judge a conversation as chatter? Generally speaking, every word that does not contribute to the fulfilment of the Lord's will is useless. And the danger of such words is so great that, no matter how good whatever it is said can be, if it is not ordered to the edification of the faith (cf. Eph 4:29), the one who spoke, does not escape the danger because that word is good, but grieves the Holy Spirit because what he says is not ordered to the edification. The Apostle taught us this clearly when he said: "No foul word should ever cross your lips, let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners" (Eph 4:29), and added: "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, who has marked you with His seal" (Eph 4:30). Is it necessary to say what a great evil it is to grieve God's Holy Spirit? (Bas., reg. brev. 23: PG 31, 1098D-1100A) 18 "Remind them of this; and tell them in the name of God there must be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening" (2 Tim 2:14)... "Also avoid these foolish and undisciplined speculation, understanding that they only give rise to quarrels" (2 Tim 2:23). You shouldn't have useless conversations from which you gain nothing. Indeed, even to speak or do good, without it being for the edification of the faith, is to grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Bas., reg. mor. 25, PG 31, 744B). Since the Lord does not leave without judgement those who produce idle talk, and even strongly judges as lazy those who leave their talents untouched in inactivity, the Apostle passed on to us that even he who speaks a good word, if it does not provide for the edification of the faith, he thus grieves the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 4:30). Likewise, we are obliged to consider the judgement of him who unworthily eats and drinks. (Bas., bapt. I, 3: PG 31, 1577BC) e. The Holy Spirit confirms us in the faith "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made firm, and by the breath of his mouth all their host" (Ps 32:6). [...] Let us understand, then, that there are three: the Lord who commands, the Logos who creates, the Breath (the Spirit) who confirms. What is confirmation (ἡ στερέωσις) if not perfection (ἡ τελείωσις) in holiness, since "confirmation" means that which is constant, unchanging, firmly established in the good? Holiness does not exist without the Spirit (Bas., Spir. 16, 38, 37-42).
Our Cathedral Centre Café is now offering a delicious afternoon tea. A new leaflet has been designed, which you can view here. We have also included a suggested newsletter insert below if you would like to share with your parish. Thank you.
Do you have a special occasion on the horizon? Are you looking for a wonderful way to celebrate? Our Cathedral Centre Cafe is now offering a delicious afternoon tea for two for just £20. With vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available, this mouthwatering treat is the idea way to celebrate a special occasion or simply catch up with a friend. Special offers are also available for groups of eight people or more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book now.
It is still not too late to put your name down to go to Lourdes.
The group has grown and there are now 30 who will be travelling to Lourdes at the end of July, for more information please see Fr. Jim
Please pray for our four new permanent deacons Damien, William, Davie and John.
They are some of the first permanent deacons
for the diocese and will, I am sure have their work cut
out for them.