Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Pope St. John Paul II concludes his Encyclical:
- We wish to bring to a close these considerations in the heart of the Church and in the heart of man. The way of the Church passes through the heart of man, because here is the hidden place of the salvific encounter with the Holy Spirit, with the hidden God, and precisely here the Holy Spirit becomes "a spring of water welling up to eternal life."289 He comes here as the Spirit of truth and as the Paraclete, as he was promised by Christ. From here he acts as Counselor, Intercessor, Advocate, especially when man, when humanity find themselves before the judgment of condemnation by that “accuser” about whom the Book of Revelation says that "he accuses them day and night before our God."290 "The Holy Spirit does not cease to be the guardian of hope in the human heart: the hope of all human creatures, and especially of those who "have the first fruits of the Spirit’’ and "wait for the redemption of their bodies."291
The Holy Spirit, in his mysterious bond of divine communion with the Redeemer of man, is the one who brings about the continuity of his work: he takes from Christ and transmits to all, unceasingly entering into the history of the world through the heart of man. Here he becomes-as the liturgical Sequence of the Solemnity of Pentecost proclaims-the true “father of the poor, giver of gifts, light of hearts”; he becomes the “sweet guest of the soul,” whom the Church unceasingly greets on the threshold of the inmost sanctuary of every human being. For he brings “rest and relief” in the midst of toil, in the midst of the work of human hands and minds; he brings “rest” and “ease” in the midst of the heat of the day, in the midst of the anxieties, struggles and perils of every age; he brings “consolation,” when the human heart grieves and is tempted to despair.
And therefore the same Sequence exclaims: “without your aid nothing is in man, nothing is without fault.” For only the Holy Spirit “convinces concerning sin,” concerning evil, in order to restore what is good in man and in the world: in order to “renew the face of the earth.” Therefore, he purifies from everything that “disfigures” man, from “what is unclean”; he heals even the deepest wounds of human existence; he changes the interior dryness of souls, transforming them into the fertile fields of grace and holiness. What is “hard he softens,” what is “frozen he warms,” what is “wayward he sets anew” on the paths of salvation.292
Praying thus, the Church unceasingly professes her faith that there exists in our created world a Spirit who is an uncreated gift. He is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son: like the Father and the Son he is uncreated, without limit, eternal, omnipotent, God, Lord.293 This Spirit of God “fills the universe,” and all that is created recognizes in him the source of its own identity, finds in him its own transcendent expression, turns to him and awaits him, invokes him with its own being. Man turns to him, as to the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth and of love, man who lives by truth and by love, and who without the source of truth and of love cannot live. To him turns the Church, which is the heart of humanity, to implore for all and dispense to all those gifts of the love which through him "has been poured into our hearts."294 To him turns the Church, along the intricate paths of man’s pilgrimage on earth: she implores, she unceasingly implores uprightness of human acts, as the Spirit’s work; she implores the joy and consolation that only he, the true Counselor, can bring by coming down into people’s inmost hearts295; the Church implores the grace of the virtues that merit heavenly glory, implores eternal salvation, in the full communication of the divine life, to which the Father has eternally “predestined” human beings, created through love in the image and likeness of the Most Holy Trinity.
The Church with her heart which embraces all human hearts implores from the Holy Spirit that happiness which only in God has its complete realization: the joy "that no one will be able to take away,"296 the joy which is the fruit of love, and therefore of God who is love; she implores “the righteousness, the peace and the joy of the Holy Spirit” in which, in the words of St. Paul, consists the Kingdom of God.297
Peace too is the fruit of love: that interior peace, which weary man seeks in his inmost being; that peace besought by humanity, the human family, peoples, nations, continents, anxiously hoping to obtain it in the prospect of the transition from the second to the third Christian Millennium. Since the way of peace passes in the last analysis through love and seeks to create the civilization of love, the Church fixes her eyes on him who is the love of the Father and the Son, and in spite of increasing dangers she does not cease to trust, she does not cease to invoke and to serve the peace of man on earth. Her trust is based on him who, being the Spirit-love, is also the Spirit of peace and does not cease to be present in our human world, on the horizon of minds and hearts, in order to “fill the universe” with love and peace…
Thanks be to God for His work in the life and work of St. John Paul II and His continuing work in the heart of the Church which passes through the heart of man! By the power of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Mary may we continue to build up the Church in love.