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The Spirit searches everything

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the Holy Spirit
General Audience, Wednesday 10 October 1990 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. In our previous catechesis we saw that the revelation of the Holy Spirit as a Person in the unity of the Trinity with the Father and Son is expressed in many beautiful and fascinating ways in the Pauline writings. Today we shall continue to touch upon other variations on this one basic theme as found in the letters of St. Paul. It frequently recurs in the Apostle's texts, which are imbued with a lively and life-giving faith in the Holy Spirit's activity and in his Personhood, which is especially made known through his activity.

2. One of the most elevated and attractive expressions of this faith which under Paul's pen becomes a communication of a revealed truth to the Church, is that of the Holy Spirit's indwelling within the faithful, who are his temple. "Do you know," he admonishes the Corinthians, "that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor 3:16). Normally persons "dwell." Here it is a question of a divine person's "indwelling" in human beings. This fact is spiritual in nature, a mystery of grace and eternal love which for this very reason is attributed to the Holy Spirit. This internal indwelling has an effect upon the entire person, on the concrete totality of his or her being, which the Apostle refers to more than once as a "body." In this same letter, a little bit after the passage we cited, he seems to urge the recipients of his letters with the same question: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" (1 Cor 6:19). In this text the reference to the "body" is all the more meaningful in that it refers to the Pauline concept of the Holy Spirit's activity in the whole man!

Thus we can explain and better understand the other text in the Letter to the Romans about "life according to the Spirit." We read: "But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the Spirit, if only the Spirit dwells in you" (Rom 8:9). "If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you" (Rom 8:11).

Therefore, the influence of the divine indwelling in a person is extended to his or her whole being. It extends to his or her whole life, which in all its constitutive elements and operational activities is placed under the action of the Holy Spirit: of the Spirit of the Father and the Son, and therefore also of Christ, the Incarnate Word. This Spirit, alive in the Trinity, by virtue of the redemption won by Christ is present in the entire person who lets himself or herself be "inhabited" by him, and in all of humanity which recognizes and accepts him.

3. Another characteristic which St. Paul attributes to the Person of the Holy Spirit is that of "searching" everything, as he writes to the Corinthians: "For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God" (1 Cor 2:10). "Who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God" (1 Cor 2:11).

This "searching" means the clarity and depth of the knowledge which is proper to the divinity in which the Holy Spirit lives with the Word-Son in the unity of the Trinity. Therefore he is a Spirit of light, a teacher of truth for humanity, as Jesus Christ had promised (cf. Jn 14:26).

4. First of all, his teaching concerns divine things, the mystery of God in himself, but also his words and his gifts to humanity. As St. Paul writes: "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God" (1 Cor 2:12). It is a divine view of the world, of life and history, which the Holy Spirit gives believers. It is a "faith-filled understanding" which enables us to look beyond the human and cosmic dimensions of reality in order to discover in everything the projection of divine action, the implementation of the plan of Providence, the reflection of the glory of the Trinity.

For this the liturgy of the ancient sequence of the Mass for the feast of Pentecost has us pray: Veni, Sancte Spiritus, et emitte coelitus lucis tuae radium. "Come, Holy Spirit, come, and from your celestial home, shed a ray of light divine! Come, Father of the poor! Come, source of all our store! Come, within our bosoms shine!"

5. This Spirit of light also gives people, especially the apostles and the Church, the ability to teach the things of God as if by an expansion of his own light. We speak about the things freely given us by God, as Paul writes, "not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms" (1 Cor 2:13). The words of the Apostle, the words of the primitive Church and the Church throughout the ages, the words of true theologians and catechists, speak of a wisdom that is not of this world, of "God's hidden mysterious wisdom, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory" (1 Cor 2:6-7).

This wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which must be implored for all teachers and preachers in every age. It is the gift which St. Paul speaks about in the same Letter to the Corinthians: "To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit" (1 Cor 12:8). All this is the gift of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, the force of an expression which penetrates minds and hearts, an internal light which, through the proclamation of the divine truth, influences the person who is docile and attentive to the glory of the Trinity.

6. The Spirit who "searches everything, even the depths of God" and "teaches" divine wisdom is also the one who "leads." In the Letter to the Romans we read: "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God" (Rom 8:14). Here we have an inner guide which touches the very roots of the new creation. The Holy Spirit makes people live as God's children by adoption. In order to live in such a way, the human spirit needs to recognize this divine adoption. "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). The personal witness of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary so that the person lives out in his or her own life the mystery which God himself has brought about within that person.

7. In this manner the Holy Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness. According to the Apostle, that happens especially in prayer. Indeed, he writes: "The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Rom 8:26). For Paul, therefore, the Spirit is the internal author of authentic prayer. Through his divine influence, he penetrates human prayer from within and brings it into the depths of God.

A further Pauline expression in some way encompasses and synthesizes all that we have touched upon to this point about this topic. "The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom 5:5). The Holy Spirit is therefore the one who pours out God's love into human hearts in overflowing measure, and enables us to become sharers in that love.

From all these expressions so frequently and consistently found in the language of the Apostle to the Gentiles, we are able to understand better the Holy Spirit's activity and the Person of the one who acts in a divine way in human beings.

After the Catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai numerosi pellegrini provenienti dalla Francia 

Chers Frères et Sœurs,

Je salue très cordialement tous les pèlerins de langue française qui sont présents ici ce matin. J’encourage le groupe des religieuses de la Congrégation de Jésus et Marie à entrer toujours plus avant dans la grâce propre à leur institut au cours de l’année qu’elles passent à Rome. J’adresse aussi mes vœux aux jeunes de la paroisse de Couvet qui sont venus avec leur aumônier pour approfondir leur amour de l’Eglise.

Sur chacun d’entre vous, mes chers amis, j’invoque la Bénédiction du Seigneur.

A numerosi pellegrini provenienti da aree di espressione linguistica inglese 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome the pilgrims from the Diocese of Rapid City who are visiting Rome in the company of their Bishop, as well as the other pilgrimage groups from the Philippines and the United States. I also extend cordial greetings to the Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council and to the members of the Louisiana State Bar Association. Upon all the English-speaking visitors I willingly invoke the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Agli ottomila fedeli provenienti da Paesi di lingua tedesca 

Liebe Schwestern und Brüder!

Mit dieser Betrachtung richte ich einen herzlichen Will kommensgruß an die Pilger und Besucher aus den deutschsprachigen Ländern, unter ihnen zahlreiche Pilgerzüge aus den Diözesen Münster, Paderborn und Essen sowie die Chorgemeinschaft Düsseldorf.

Ein besonderer Gruß gilt der großen Pilgergruppe unter Leitung der Apostolischen und Kanonischen Visitatoren in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Der zweite Weltkrieg hat über Europa sehr viel Unheil und Leid gebracht, mit vielen traurigen Einzelschicksalen. Doch gerade aus der Kraft Eures tiefen und unerschütterlichen Glaubens und Vertrauens auf Gottes Führung und Beistand wollt Ihr tatkräftig dabei mitwirken, unter den neuen und hoffnungsvollen Bedingungen in den Ländern Mittelund Osteuropas Brücken der Verständigung zu bauen und Frieden und Versöhnung zwischen den Völkern zu stiften.

Herzlich ermuntere ich Euch, an Eurem Glauben in Treue zur Kirche und zum Nachfolger des Heiligen Petrus festzuhalten und in Eurem Einsatz für Versöhnung, vor allem mit Euren östlichen Nachbarn, nicht nachzulassen.

Euch allen, den deutschsprachigen Pilgern, sowie Euren Lieben in der Heimt erteile ich von Herzen meinen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai numerosi fedeli di espressione spagnola 

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas,

Saludo con afecto a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de los diversos Países de América Latina y de España.

En particular, al numeroso grupo de seminaristas Legionarios de Cristo, que inician en Roma sus estudios filosóficos, a quienes deseo que su permanencia en la Ciudad Eterna les consolide aún más en su vocación y en su amor a la Iglesia. 

Igualmente, saludo al grupo de antiguos alumnos del Colegio “Nuestra Señora del Pilar”, de Madrid, que celebran con esta peregrinación a Roma el cuarenta y cinco aniversario de la Conclusión de sus estudios en aquel centro. 

Por último, mi cordial bienvenida a los miembros de la Asociación Organizadora de los Festejos de San Pedro, en la Parroquia de La Felguera (AsturiasA todos bendigo de corazón. 

Solidarietà e affetto verso “il popolo colombiano sofferente” 

Desde Colombia llegan preocupantes noticias de numerosos casos de secuestro de personas.

Mientras expreso mi más enérgica reprobación por estos delitos execrables, deseo manifestar mi solidaridad y cercanía hacia estas personas privadas injustamente de su libertad.

Al mismo tiempo, dirijo mi llamado a los responsables de tales actos de secuestro y violencia para que liberen a estas personas y puedan así volver a sus seres queridos, tan probados en esta hora de dolor.

Elevo mi plegaria al Señor por el sufrido pueblo colombiano, tan cercano a mi corazón de Pastor, y hago fervientes votos para que prevalezca la concordia, la justicia y la convivencia pacífica entre todos los amados hijos de la noble Nación colombiana. 

Ai fedeli di lingua portoghese 

Amadíssimos irmãos e irmãs,

Saúdo afectuosamente os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, especialmente os que pertencem à Paróquia da Ressurreição, do Rio de Janeiro. A todos concedo de bom grado, como penhor de abundantes dons celestiais, a minha Bênção Apostólica. 

Appello per il “ciclo di Jasna Gora” 

Polacy są narodem Świadomym swojej przynależności do Europy, swojej europejskości. . . . Zawsze punktem odniesienia dla odpowiedzi o naszą tożsamość była Europa. Europa, której Polacy czuli się obrońcami, którą kochali. Przez trzysta lat żywa była w Polsce ideologia “przedmurza chrześcijaństwa” - a więc przedmurza Europy. Jest zatem Europa obecna w polskiej świadomości jako wartość - dla której warto żyć, lecz dla której trzeba czasami umierać. Do tej Europy miewano także żale, pretensje, i to nastawienie tkwi w naszej świadomości zbiorowej podzień dzisiejszy.

Nadal widzimy w Europie wartość, ojczyznę wolności i prawa - i nadal mocno się z Europą utożsamiamy. Nadal mamy do Europy pretensje - za zgodę na Jałtę, na podział Europy, za pozostawienie nas po tamtej stronie żelaznej kurtyny.

Dzisiaj jednak, kiedy powrót do Europy, kiedy odrodzenie Europy jako całości staje się coraz bardziej realne, coraz częściej zadajemy sobie pytanie o to, co mamy Europie do przekazania, jaki jest nasz dziejowy wkład do europejskiego skarbca?

Otóż sądzę, że mamy Europie do zaoferowania niemało. Naszym wkładem do Europy jest zarówno nasza siła jak i nasza słabość” - przytoczyłem obszerny fragment przemówienia Premiera Rządu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na forum Rady Europy w Strasburgu 30 stycznia br.

Doniosła sprawa, która musi wejść do “Cyklu jasnogórskiego”. Musi stać się także osnową naszej modlitwy wobec Bogarodzicy, która pielgrzymuje z nami przez dzieje. Ona - jako Matka - wie najlepiej, co jest “naszą siłą” i “naszą słabością”. Istotny sens godności człowieka - godności, którą Stwórca mu dał i zadał - “leży w pierwszeństwie etyki przed techniką, leży w prymacie osoby w stosunku do rzeczy, leży w pierwszeństwie ducha wobec materii”.

Czyż nie to powinniśmy nade wszystko “zaoferować” Europie: Tego się od niej domagać?

“Istnieje bowiem bardzo realne i wyczuwalne już niebezpieczeństwo, że wraz z olbrzymim postępem w opanowaniu przez człowieka świata rzeczy człowiek . . . na różne sposoby podporządkuje im swoje człowieczeństwo, sam staje się przedmiotem wielorakiej - czasem bezpośrednio nieuchwytnej - manipulacji, poprzez całą organizację życia zbiorowego, poprzez system produkcji, poprzez nacisk środków przekazu społecznego . . . Cywilizacja o profilu czysto materialistycznym . . . (podporządkowanie etyki względem ekonomii) oddaje człowieka w taką niewolę”.

Czyż nie o tym winniśmy nade wszystko świadczyć i przed tym ostrzegać w imię całej prawdy o człowieku, w imię tej godności, jaką ma każda ludzka osoba od pierwszej chwili poczęcia aż po kres ziemskiego życia?

“Matko, która nas znasz” - Matko, która najlepiej wiesz, co jest “naszą siłą” i “naszą słabością” - dopomóż, aby to, co jest moralną siłą, zwyciężyło w nas samych. I stało się naszym “dziejowym wkładem do europejskiego skarbca”.

Witam serdecznie ks. bpa Jaworskiego z Kielc i ks. biskupa ze Śląska oraz grupy pielgrzymie: z parafii św. Stanisława Biskupa i Męczennika z Łodygowic; pielgrzymkę dziękczynną “Solidarności” Regionu Śląsko-Dąbrowskiego z okazji 10-lecia działalności, z ks. bpem Gerardem Bernackim i z wojewodą katowickim oraz działaczami związku; z parafii św. Brata Alberta z Puław; z parafii Narodzenia Matki Bożej z Kalisza; z parafii św. Stanisława Biskupa i Męczennika z Kosiny; z bazyliki Mariackiej w Gdańsku - pracownicy PKO; z parafii św. Jacka ze Słupska; z Klubu Inteligencji Katolickiej i z parafii Św. Krzyża w Gorzowie; z parafii Św. Krzyża oo. redemptorystów z Gliwic; pielgrzymów z Norymbergi, Monachium i Rosenheim, z Bonn i z Wuppertalu; kolejarzy z Bydgoszczy; grupę turystyczną z Poznania; grupę “Hemar” z Siemianowic Śląskich; grupę “Quo vadis” z Krosna i z Bielska-Białej; grupę “Gromada” z Poznania i Nowego Sącza; zespół “Lord’s singers” z Warszawy; grupę Towarzystwa Przyjaźni Polsko-Włoskiej z Krakowa; esperantystów z Krakowa, Bydgoszczy i z całej Polski oraz pielgrzymów indywidualnych z kraju i z emigracji. 

Ad alcuni gruppi di lingua italiana 

Tra i pellegrini di lingua italiana desidero oggi salutare in modo speciale i Fratelli delle Scuole Cristiane, convenuti a Roma da diverse nazioni per un corso di aggiornamento sulla dottrina del loro fondatore, San Giovanni Battista de la Salle. Vi esorto a vivere sempre più intensamente il carisma di questo Santo, che con eroica dedizione si prodigò per l’educazione dei ragazzi e dei giovani più poveri.

Saluto poi i pellegrini della parrocchia del “Corpus Domini” alla Massimina, che nel corso della Missione Popolare hanno voluto includere questo momento di comunione con il Successore di Pietro. Formulo voti di bene per l’intera Parrocchia e tutti esorto ad accostarvi assiduamente e con fervore al Sacrificio Eucaristico. 

Ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli

Rivolgo ora il saluto ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli presenti a questa udienza. Desidero prendere lo spunto dal mese di ottobre che, come noto, la devozione cristiana dedica a Maria, Regina del Rosario. In questa preghiera meditiamo i principali misteri della vita di Gesù, ripercorrendo in atteggiamento di contemplazione gli episodi del Vangelo, mentre il nostro pensiero è accompagnato dall’insistente invocazione alla Madre del Redentore con l’Ave Maria.

Raccomando tale preghiera ai giovani, invitandoli a ricercare lungo il cammino della loro vita la luce del messaggio evangelico e i doni di grazia per l’intercessione della Beata Vergine. La raccomando ai malati, poiché da questa preghiera si ottiene tanto conforto per seguire Cristo nella vita difficile della croce. La raccomando, infine, agli sposi novelli, ai quali chiedo di far fiorire nelle loro nuove famiglie questa pia pratica, così cara al cuore dei fedeli. A tutti la mia Benedizione Apostolica. 

Dopo aver espresso il suo vivo dolore per i tragici avvenimenti di Gerusalemme, Giovanni Paolo II dà voce alla presente amarezza e alle speranze di quanti guardano alle vicende della Terra Santa e pregano per i popoli che lì vivono. Lo fa durante l’udienza generale odierna, rivolgendosi ai fedeli riuniti in piazza San Pietro con le seguenti parole. 

Fratelli e sorelle, sento il pressante dovere di invitarvi a ricordare e a pregare in modo particolare per la Terra Santa, per le comunità cristiane e per i popoli che si trovano in essa. Le notizie dei tristi avvenimenti dell’altro ieri sono motivo di un vivo dolore, reso ancora più grande dal fatto che si sono verificati in luoghi considerati sacri da grandi religioni e a Gerusalemme, la Città Santa per gli ebrei, i cristiani e i musulmani.

Non è possibile rimanere indifferenti e non condannare, insieme con la violenza che ha causato altri morti e feriti, una situazione di ingiustizia che dura da troppo tempo e che vede opporsi due popoli, quello Palestinese e quello Israeliano, ambedue chiamati a vivere in una pace equa e durevole, ciascuno nella propria Patria e su quella Terra tanto cara a loro e ai credenti di tutto il mondo. Sono particolarmente vicino al dolore di tutti coloro che piangono le vittime di questa violenza e, in modo speciale, vorrei esprimere nuovamente la mia più viva solidarietà con i pastori di quelle Chiese cristiane, che come ho avuto occasione di ricordare recentemente, incontrando i vescovi latini della Regione Araba, hanno il delicato compito di guidare e sostenere i loro fedeli in situazioni e circostanze ora più che mai difficili.

Preghiamo insieme il Signore affinché ispirando i cuori di coloro che sono responsabili dei destini dei popoli, conceda a tutta la Regione del Medio Oriente la desiderata pace nella giustizia e nella sicurezza e faccia della Santa Città di Gerusalemme crocevia e sorgente di una vera riconciliazione. 

Concordia, giustizia e convivenza pacifica prevalgano in Colombia 

Condanna per l’esecrabile delitto del sequestro di persona, solidarietà con il dolore delle vittime e dei loro familiari ed un appello ai sequestratori affinché liberino i loro ostaggi sono espressi dal Santo Padre questa mattina, durante l’udienza generale. 

Dalla Colombia giungono preoccupanti notizie su numerosi casi di sequestro di persone. Nell’esprimere la mia più energica riprovazione per questi esecrabili delitti, desidero manifestare la mia solidarietà e la mia vicinanza a queste persone ingiustamente private della loro libertà. Al tempo stesso, rivolgo il mio appello ai responsabili di simili atti di sequestro e di violenza, affinché liberino queste persone che possano così tornare ai loro cari, tanto provati da quest’ora di dolore.

Elevo la mia preghiera al Signore per il popolo colombiano sofferente, tanto caro al mio cuore di pastore, ed esprimo fervidi voti affinché prevalga la concordia, la giustizia e la convivenza pacifica fra tutti gli amati figli della nobile Nazione colombiana.

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