Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thoughts from Pope Francis for the end of Lent

I am so grateful for the practical advice and wisdom that Pope Francis shares with us.  In his general audience message on Wednesday, Pope Francis began a new cycle of teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God).  He began his teaching on the gift of wisdom.  His full message can be found here.  Below is an excerpt that spoke right into the heart of my daily life as a wife and mother:
“If we listen to the Holy Spirit, He teaches us this way of wisdom, He gives us wisdom which is to see with God’s eyes, to hear with God’s ears, to love with God’s heart, to judge things with God’s judgment. This is the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives us, and we can all have it, we only need to ask the Holy Spirit for it.  Think of a mother at home with the children, that when one does something, the other thinks of something else, and the poor mother goes from one place to the other with the problems of the children. And when mothers are tired and shout at the children, is that wisdom? To shout at children – I ask you – is that wisdom? What do you say: is it wisdom or not? No! Instead, when the Mother picks up the child and reproves him gently and says to him: “This isn’t done because …”, and she explains it to him with much patience, is this the wisdom of God? Yes! It is what the Holy Spirit gives us in life!  Then in marriage, for instance, the two spouses – the husband and the wife – quarrel, and then they don’t look at each other, or if they do look at one another they do so with a cross face: is this the wisdom of God? No! Instead they say: “well, the storm has passed, let’s make peace,” and they begin again to go forward in peace: is this wisdom? [the people: Yes!] See, this is the gift of wisdom. May it come to the home, may it come with the children, may it come with all of us!”
How beautiful!  Wisdom from the Holy Spirit isn’t some unattainable, impractical fountain of knowledge.  Rather, it is of inestimable practical value for the minute moments of my everyday life.  I also love how the crowd seemed to be caught off guard by the Holy Father’s example and question.  I could imagine a rumble through the crowd (or was it my own heart?): ‘What, surely we don’t need to be worried about shouting at our children?  Everyone does that!  Surely, the Holy Spirit is concerned with much bigger issues of sin than that?’  Sometimes I can be deluded by the banality of my sin, as if it has less of a poisoning effect on my children or the world because it is common or because “everyone does it.”  No way!  This is where I must start seeking God’s wisdom, right at the heart of my day.
As Holy Week approaches, I am hungry for the wisdom of the Spirit!  Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with your Wisdom.

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