By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

 

VATICAN CITY — The Holy Spirit keeps Christians young at heart, supporting them in times of trial and helping them praise God no matter what is going on, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating morning Mass May 28, the pope told the story of a priest who asked a group of children who the Holy Spirit is. They answered, “The paralytic.”

While their confusion with the word “paraclete” is understandable, the pope said that too many Christians “think the Holy Spirit is a paralytic.”

“The word ‘paraclete’ means one who is alongside me to support me so that I don’t fall, so that I keep moving forward, so that I preserve the youthfulness of the Spirit,” the pope said. “A Christian remains young. Always. When the heart of a Christian starts to get old, one’s Christian vocation begins to diminish. You are either young at heart, have a young soul, or you are not fully Christian.”

In the day’s Gospel reading, John 16:5-11, the disciples are sad when Jesus tells them he is leaving, but Jesus scolds them because, Pope Francis said, “sadness is not a Christian attitude.”

Of course, the pope said, trials and difficulties come into everyone’s life, but Christians can rely on the Holy Spirit to help them carry their burdens while continuing to recognize God’s gifts in their lives and to look toward the future with hope.