Vatican City (Monday, 01/12/2015, Gaudium Press) After baptizing 33 children in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope prayed the Angelus, from the well-known papal balcony, on Sunday 11, with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
On this occasion the Pope commented on the Feats of the Baptism of Our the Lord, which marks the end of the liturgical season of Christmas.
Noting that the descent of the Holy Spirit at Christ’s baptism in the Jordan is the sign by which the Lord begins His public teaching ministry, Pope Francis said, “We often pray to Jesus, we pray to the Father, especially when we pray the “Our Father” – but not so frequently do we pray to the Holy Spirit – it is true, no? – He is the Forgotten One.” The Holy Father went on to say, “We need to ask for His help, His strength, His inspiration,” explaining, “the Holy Spirit, who entirely animated the life and ministry of Jesus, is the same Spirit who now leads Christian existence, the existence of [every] man and woman who say they are and want to be Christians.”
In his homily, the Holy Father focused on three related themes: on the Word of God as nourishment for the soul; on faith as an intrinsically and essentially ecclesial reality – something that is “of the Church” and into which we are incorporated in baptism; on the anointing that is part of baptism, and therefore on the sacrament as one of royal, prophetic and priestly consecration. Departing from his prepared text, the Holy Father offered some homiletic reflections on the importance of prayer – especially of prayer to the Holy Spirit – in the life of Christians. “It is so very important to pray to the Holy Spirit,” he said, “for the Spirit teaches us to carry forward the family, the children – He makes it possible to see that the children grow up in the atmosphere of the Holy Trinity.” The Pope went on to say, “It is precisely the Spirit who leads them forward – and this is why we need not forget to invoke the Holy Spirit often, every day.”
Finally he asked for prayers for his apostolic trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. “Tomorrow I will leave for an Apostolic Journey to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. I ask you, please, to accompany me with prayers and I also ask the Sri Lankans and Filipinos who are here in Rome to pray especially for me on this trip. Thank you! “(LMI)