Pope Francis prayed the traditional Eastertide Marian prayer of the Regina Coeli on Sunday with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
In his reflections on the Gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter, the Pope noted that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Paraclete”, which means both “consoler and advocate at the same time.”
“This means that the Holy Spirit does not leave us alone,” said the Holy Father. “He is near to us, like an advocate who assists the accused person, standing by his or her side.”
Gentle guidance from our companion for life
Focusing first on the Spirit’s “closeness” to us, Pope Francis said the Paraclete never abandons us, and is instead our “companion for life, a stable presence.”
The Spirit, he added, remains with us because “he truly loves us, rather than merely pretending to love us.”
And because God’s Spirit loves us, He acts as a true and faithful friend, who brings us God’s pardon and strength while also correcting us when we make mistakes.
“When He places our errors before us and corrects us, He does so gently – in His voice that speaks to the heart, there is always the timbre of tenderness and the warmth of love,” said the Pope.
The Spirit’s corrections, he added, never come in such a way as to humiliate us or instill distrust. “Rather, He conveys the certainty that we can always succeed with God.”
Defense against detractors
The Pope went on to reflect on the second aspect of the Holy Spirit: His action as our “advocate”.
The Paraclete defends us from those who accuse us, and even “from ourselves when we do not appreciate and forgive ourselves”.
The Spirit also stands by our side when the world seeks to push us aside or when the devil—the “accuser par excellence”—tries to make us feel useless and unhappy.
Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit teaches us how to respond to such accusations by “reminding us of everything Jesus told us.”
“He reminds us, above all, that Jesus always spoke of the Father who is in heaven,” said the Pope. “He made the Father known to us, and revealed the Father’s love for us, His children.”
Prayer to the Holy Spirit within us
In conclusion, Pope Francis invited Christians to call upon the Holy Spirit and to pray to Him often, especially since He is always within us.
“May Mary make us docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit and sensitive to His presence.”