A young man touches the cheek of Pope Francis during the pontiff's weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 14. (CNS photo/Claudio Peri, EPA) (May 14, 2014)
Below is the Vatican Radio's transcript and translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis given today at his Wednesday general audience.
Dear brothers and sisters!
recent catechesis, we examined the first three gifts of the Holy
Spirit: wisdom, understanding and counsel. Today we think about what the
Lord does, He always comes to support us in our weakness with a special
gift, the gift of fortitude.
1. There is a parable told by Jesus,
which helps us to grasp the importance of this gift. A sower goes out to
sow; not all the seed he sows, however, bears fruit. What ends up on
the street is eaten by birds; what falls on stony ground or among thorns
sprouting, but is soon dried by the sun or choked by the thorns. Only
what ends up on the good soil can grow and bear fruit (cf. Mk 4.3 to 9 /
/ Mt 13:3-9 / / Luke 8.4 to 8 ). As Jesus himself said to his
disciples, the Father is the sower, who sows the seed of His Word
abundantly. The seed, however, often clashes with the aridness of our
hearts and, even when welcomed, is likely to remain sterile. Instead
with the gift of fortitude the Holy Spirit frees the soil of our heart
from torpor, uncertainties and all the fears that can stop it, so that
the Word of God can be put into practice, in an authentic and joyful
way. This is a real help, this gift of fortitude it gives us strength
and frees us from many obstacles.
2 . There are difficult moments
and extreme situations in which the gift of fortitude is manifested in
an extraordinary, exemplary way. This is the case of those who are
facing particularly harsh and painful experiences, that disrupt their
lives and those of their loved ones. The Church shines with the
testimony of so many brothers and sisters who have not hesitated to give
their lives, in order to remain faithful to the Lord and His Gospel .
Even today there are numerous Christians in many parts of the world who
continue to celebrate and witness to their faith with deep conviction
and serenity, and resist even when they know that this can result in
them paying a very high price. All of us know people, people who have
experienced difficult situations, so much pain, let us think of those
men and women who have a difficult life, who fight for the survival of
their family, educate their children. They do this because the Spirit of
fortitude helps them. How many, many men and women - whose names we do
not know honor our people, honor our Church because they are strong in
carrying forward their lives, their work, their family, their faith
these our brothers and sisters are saints! Every day saints! Hidden
saints among us! They have the gift of fortitude in carrying on in their
duty as people, mother, father, brother, sister citizen. We have so
many so many. Let us thank the Lord for these Christians who are the
hidden saints among us. But is the Spirti within who carry them forward
and it would do us good to think of these people. If they do this, if
they can do this then why not me and we ask the Lord to give us the gift
3 . With this, we must not think that the gift of
fortitude is only necessary on some occasions or in certain situations.
This gift must be the base note of our being Christians, in our ordinary
everyday lives. As I said we must have fortitude in our everyday life
as Christians we need this fortitude to carry on in our lives, our
families our faith. Paul, the Apostle Paul, said something that it would
do us all good to hear: "I have the strength for everything through him
who empowers me" (Phil. 4:13).
In our everyday life, in
difficult times it would do us good to say this "I have the strength for
everything through him who empowers me”. The Lord always gives us
strength, Lord never gives us more than we can handle, "I have the
strength for everything through him who empowers me”.
friends, sometimes we may be tempted to allow ourselves be overtaken by
laziness or despondency, especially when faced with the hardships and
trials of life. In these cases, do not lose heart, but invoke the Holy
Spirit, so that with the gift of fortitude He can lift our hearts and
communicate new vigor and enthusiasm to our lives and our following
Below please find the English language summary of the Holy Father’s catechesis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
our continuing catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, we now
turn to the gift of fortitude. We have seen that the first three gifts
of the Spirit wisdom, understanding and counsel enable us to
contemplate God’s loving plan and to know his will. Through the gift of
fortitude, we receive the strength to do God’s will in spite of our own
natural weakness and limitations. In the parable of the sower and the
seed, Jesus teaches us that the seed of God’s word sown in our hearts
can encounter not only interior resistence, but also be choked by life’s
sufferings and trials. Through the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit
enables us to remain faithful amid every difficulty and as the
experience of so many Christians around the world shows even amid
persecution and martyrdom. For most of us, the gift of fortitude is
exercised in our patient pursuit of holiness in the circumstances of our
daily lives. Whenever we feel weary or discouraged along the journey of
faith, let us ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the gift of fortitude, to
refresh us and to guide our steps with renewed enthusiasm.
Vatican Radio site reports: "Tens of thousands of pilgrims and visitors
had queued since dawn outside St. Peter's Square to attend the audience.
Despite a strong and chill wind, the Pope spent over half an hour
touring among them in his open topped jeep, blessing children greeting
the elderly, embracing the sick."