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Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (3rd of 7)
General Audience, Wednesday 7 May 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
We heard in the Reading of the passage from the Book of Psalms: “the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me” (Ps 16[15]:7). This is another gift of the Holy Spirit: the gift of counsel. We know how important it is in the most delicate moments to be able to count on the advice of people who are wise and who love us. Now, through the gift of counsel, it is God himself, through his spirit, who enlightens our heart so as to make us understand the right way to speak and to behave and the way to follow. But how does this gift work in us?

1. When we receive and welcome him into our heart, the Holy Spirit immediately begins to make us sensitive to his voice and to guide our thoughts, our feelings and our intentions according to the heart of God. At the same time, he leads us more and more to turn our interior gaze to Jesus, as the model of our way of acting and of relating with God the Father and with the brethren. Counsel, then, is the gift through which the Holy Spirit enables our conscience to make a concrete choice in communion with God, according to the logic of Jesus and his Gospel. In this way, the Spirit makes us grow interiorly, he makes us grow positively, he makes us grow in the community and he helps us not to fall prey to self-centredness and one’s own way of seeing things. Thus the Spirit helps us to grow and also to live in community. The essential condition for preserving this gift is prayer. We always return to the same theme: prayer! Yet prayer is so important. To pray with the prayers that we all learned as children, but also to pray in our own words. To ask the Lord: “Lord, help me, give me counsel, what must I do now?”. And through prayer we make space so that the Spirit may come and help us in that moment, that he may counsel us on what we all must do. Prayer! Never forget prayer. Never! No one, no one realizes when we pray on the bus, on the road: we pray in the silence of our heart. Let us take advantage of these moments to pray, pray that the Spirit give us the gift of counsel.

In intimacy with God and in listening to his Word, little by little we put aside our own way of thinking, which is most often dictated by our closures, by our prejudice and by our ambitions, and we learn instead to ask the Lord: what is your desire? What is your will? What pleases you? In this way a deep, almost connatural harmony in the Spirit grows and develops within us and we experience how true the words of Jesus are that are reported in the Gospel of Matthew: “do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak but the spirit of your Father speaking through you” (10:19-20). It is the Spirit who counsels us, but we have to make room for the Spirit, so that he may counsel us. And to give space is to pray, to pray that he come and help us always.

3. As with all of the other gifts of the Spirit, then, counsel too constitutes a treasure for the whole Christian community. The Lord does not only speak to us in the intimacy of the heart; yes, he speaks to us, but not only there; he also speaks to us through the voice and witness of the brethren. It is truly a great gift to be able to meet men and women of faith who, especially in the most complicated and important stages of our lives, help us to bring light to our heart and to recognize the Lord’s will!

I remember once at the Shrine of Luján I was in the confessional, where there was a long queue. There was even a very modern young man, with earrings, tattoos, all these things.... And he came to tell me what was happening to him. It was a big and difficult problem. And he said to me: “I told my mother all this and my mother said to me, go to Our Lady and she will tell you what you must do”. Here is a woman who had the gift of counsel. She did not know how to help her son out of his problem, but she indicated the right road: go to Our Lady and she will tell you. This is the gift of counsel. That humble, simple woman, gave her son the truest counsel. In fact, this young man said to me: “I looked at Our Lady and I felt that I had to do this, this and this...”. I did not have to speak, his mother and the boy himself had already said everything. This is the gift of counsel. You mothers who have this gift, ask it for your children, the gift of giving good counsel to your children is a gift of God.

Dear friends, Psalm 16[15], which we heard, invites us to pray with these words: “I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (vv. 7-8). May the Spirit always pour this certainty into our heart and fill us thus with the consolation of his peace! Always ask for the gift of counsel."


"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones, en particulier les paroisses et les jeunes venus de France, de Suisse et de Belgique. Remettons avec confiance toute notre vie entre les mains de Dieu, en particulier les choix que nous avons à faire dans les moments compliqués ou difficiles. Ecoutons dans la prière la voix du Seigneur qui nous conseille et nous conduit. Bon pèlerinage à Rome!

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Korea, the Philippines, China, India, Canada and the United States.  Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord. God bless you all!

Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos venidos de España, México, Guatemala, Colombia, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Que la intercesión de la Virgen María, en este mes de mayo, nos ayude a vivir nuestra vida cristiana con más docilidad a la voz y al amor del Espíritu Santo. Muchas gracias, que Dios los bendiga y la Virgen los cuide.

Saúdo com carinho todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, particularmente os fiéis de Leria-Fátima e os diversos grupos do Brasil. Queridos amigos, peçamos ao Senhor o dom do conselho, para que, nas diversas circunstâncias da vida, saibamos encontrar o modo certo de falar e de nos comportarmos, de tal modo que o nosso testemunho favoreça a difusão do Evangelho. Que Deus vos abençoe!

أتوجه بتحية حارة إلى جميع الأخوات والإخوة الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة القادمين من بلدان الشرق الأوسط. ما من إنسان يترك نفسه بتواضع لإرشاد الله يخيب أو يضل الطريق؛ فلا تتبعوا المرشدين الزائفين، والذين يبدون من الخارج جذابين، ولكنهم يقودونا من عبودية إلى عبودية أخرى؛ واتركوا روح الرب يقودكم عبر دروب الحياة لتعيشوا مشيئة الآب على مثال الابن. ليبارك الرب جميعكم ويملئكم بموهبة المشورة!

Pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Ubiegłej niedzieli, odwiedzając polską wspólnotę przy kościele św. Stanisława w Rzymie, powiedziałem, że wyruszyliśmy w drogę na spotkanie w Polsce z okazji Światowego Dnia Młodzieży, które – jak Bóg da – odbędą się w 216 roku. Idźmy razem, zjednoczeni w miłości i w modlitwie, podejmując zaproszenie św. Jana Pawła II, byśmy byli zawsze młodzi w Duchu Świętym. Niech Bóg wam błogosławi!

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Cari pellegrini di lingua italiana, benvenuti! Sono lieto di accogliere il pellegrinaggio promosso dai Padri Vocazionisti per il centenario di Ordinazione Sacerdotale del Fondatore, i fedeli dell’Arcidiocesi di Pisa e l’Istituto Mater Misericordiae che celebrerà il capitolo generale. Saluto le religiose infermiere di diverse Congregazioni; i pellegrini e gli ammalati della Congregazione Mariana delle Case di Carità; i detenuti di Viterbo; i volontari della Croce Rossa a 150 anni dalla fondazione; l’Opera Don Guanella di Napoli nel cinquantesimo anniversario; e i familiari dei ragazzi di San Patrignano, ai quali mi unisco nel dire no ad ogni tipo di droga. E questo, forse farà bene che lo dicano tutti, semplicemente: no a ogni tipo di droga! Saluto inoltre il Gruppo Confcommercio Ascom di Padova e li incoraggio in questo momento di difficoltà economica. Che la difficoltà economica non ci tolga la vita! La visita alle Tombe degli Apostoli accresca in tutti la gioia pasquale della Risurrezione che si manifesta anche in concrete opere di carità.

Domani la Chiesa eleva la preghiera della “Supplica” alla Madonna del Rosario di Pompei. A quel celebre Santuario si recherà il Segretario di Stato, il Cardinale Parolin; invito tutti ad invocare l’intercessione di Maria, affinché il Signore conceda misericordia e pace alla Chiesa e al mondo intero.

Affido in particolare alla nostra Madre i giovani, gli ammalati e gli sposi novelli che oggi sono qui presenti, ed esorto tutti a valorizzare in questo mese di maggio la preghiera del santo Rosario."


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