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Theme of Pope’s general audience: ‘Walking according to the Spirit’

November 03, 2021

Continuing his Wednesday general audience series on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Pope Francis spoke on November 3 about the walking according to the Spirit.

Previous addresses in the series were entitled “Introduction to the Letter to the Galatians“ (June 23), “Paul, the true apostle“ (June 30), “There is just one Gospel“ (August 4), “The Mosaic Law“ (August 11), “The propaedeutic value of the Law“ (August 18), “The dangers of the Law“ (August 25), “Foolish Galatians“ (September 1), “We are children of God“ (September 8), “Life of faith“ (September 29), “Christ has set us free“ (October 6), “Christian freedom, universal leaven of liberation” (October 13), “Freedom is realized in love“ (October 20), and “The fruit of the Spirit“ (October 27).

“In our catechesis on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, we now turn to the Apostle’s exhortation to ‘live by the Spirit,’” the Pope said, in the words of the official Vatican summary of his remarks. “Paul uses the image of ‘walking’ to describe the journey of Christian discipleship (Gal 5:16).”

The summary continued:

The Holy Spirit guides us along the path of holiness; he teaches us to persevere in the new life we have received in Christ and to reject “the desires of the flesh” that are contrary to it (ibid.). Paul makes it clear that the journey of discipleship, which begins at baptism, is demanding; it requires constant struggle, not only in our lives as individuals, but also in the life of the community.

Only by the grace and charity that are gifts of the Spirit can we overcome the ever-present temptations to anger, envy and selfishness. In this sense, Paul urges us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2), to be gentle in correcting those who go astray and compassionate to those who are suffering.

Let us ask for the grace to be confirmed in our efforts to live by the Spirit and to act in a way worthy of the calling we have received in Christ.


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