The preacher of the papal household, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, delivers his second Advent sermon and reflects on the role of the Holy Spirit in our prayer as children of God.
Dec 13 2021
Cardinal Cantalamessa delivers his Advent sermon to the Pope and the Curia (Vatican Media)
By Devin Watkins
Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa continued his reflection on Paul’s letter to the Galatians in his second Advent sermon for Pope Francis and the Roman Curia.
He began by presenting a former bishop named Abercius as a role model for rediscovering “the freshness, enthusiasm and wonder” of faith in Christ.
“It’s about looking at the cathedral’s stained glass windows from the inside, rather than from the street side,” he noted.
Overcome the reign of sin
Cardinal Cantalamessa then reflected on the role of the Holy Spirit in lifting our minds and hearts to God, saying that without him we cannot even begin to pray or realize that we are children of God.
“If the Spirit is ‘the proof’ that we are children of God, if he ‘testifies’ of our spirit,” he said, “it cannot be something going on ‘somewhere’ that we are not. conscious or without any confirmation. “
The Cardinal said that this confirmation comes when we overcome the “sin regime” which causes us to view the will of God with animosity and as a restriction on our human freedom.
It is no exaggeration to understand how, unconsciously, we relate the will of God to all that is unpleasant, painful, all that tests us, that requires renunciation and sacrifice, in short, all that can be. perceived as hampering our personal freedom and development. We essentially perceive God as being opposed to all feast, pleasure and pleasure. If at that moment we could look at ourselves as in a mirror, we would see ourselves as people with our heads bowed in resignation, muttering clenched teeth:. “
Love replaces fear
On the contrary, noted Cardinal Cantalamessa, the Holy Spirit comes to heal us of this “terrible distortion” by showing us “another face of God, the face that Jesus reveals to us in the Gospel”.
“Little by little, the feeling that a child experiences flourishes in us which spontaneously translates into the cry: Abba, Father! “He said.” A child has replaced the slave, love has replaced fear. The person ceases to be hostile to God and becomes God’s ally.
Silent before the majesty of God
The preacher of the Papal House continued to reflect on the prayer which the Holy Spirit inspires in us by grace to help us realize our true vocation.
He said that prayer is the “privileged place where the Holy Spirit always again works the miracle of making us feel like children of God.”
This experience often takes place “suddenly and intensely” in a person’s life and is accompanied by a feeling of “the majesty and transcendence of God” that leaves us “overwhelmed and silent”.
“When we speak of the exclamation ‘Abbà, Father! We usually think in terms of self-reference, meaning what it means to us who say it. You hardly ever think about what it means for the One who hears it, what it produces in God. No one reflects on the joy it brings to God to be called “Daddy”. But anyone who is a father knows what it feels like to hear themselves being called out with that unique tone of voice of their own boy or daughter. It’s like becoming a father every time because every time this exclamation is said, it reminds you and makes you aware of who you are. It calls into existence what is at the heart of your being.
Invoke the Father in our drought
Jesus, Cardinal Cantalamessa said, taught us to call God our Father, or “Papa”, which is similar to the meaning of the Aramaic word. Abba.
He added that the heart of God is “touched” when we speak to Him with so much love, even when we fail to “feel” something special in our prayer. It is precisely in our drought that our prayer reaches its true peaks of love and its depths of faith, said the Cardinal.
The Spirit guiding the synodal path of the Church
Cardinal Cantalamessa concluded his second Advent sermon by urging Church leaders to base each of their pastoral actions and plans on the Holy Spirit.
“When circumstances permit,” he said, “we must spend some time revealing ourselves to the Holy Spirit, to give the Spirit time to manifest, to synchronize with Him. “
Entrusting our work to the Holy Spirit and letting Him guide us, said the Cardinal, is all the more necessary as the Church engages in the synodal adventure.
“The Holy Spirit is the only one who opens new paths, without ever denying old ones. Rather than doing new things, the Spirit makes things new! That is, the Spirit does not create new doctrines and new institutions, but renews and breathes new life into those instituted by Jesus. Without the Spirit, we would always be behind history.–Vatican News