Pope Francis comes across as a welcoming, fatherly encourager, doesn’t he? He has given this papacy the air of welcome and mercy, which is his intent, according to many of his public statements. What we forget, though, is that he is a rigorously trained theologian. He instructs us in the faith in a way that is methodical, sensible, and built with great care upon the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church’s apostles. Here he instructs us about a role of the Holy Spirit we might not always . . . remember.
The Holy Spirit reminds us; he reminds us of all that Jesus said. He is the living memory of the Church, and when he reminds us, he helps us understand the words of the Lord.
This remembrance in the Spirit and by virtue of the Spirit . . . is an essential aspect of Christ’s presence within us and within his Church. The Spirit of truth and charity reminds us of all that Christ said and helps us enter ever more fully into the meaning of his words. We all have this experience: one moment, in any situation, there is an idea and then another connects with a passage from Scripture. . . . It is the Spirit who leads us to take this path: the path of the living memory of the Church. And he asks us for a response: the more generous our response, the more Jesus’ words become life within us, becoming attitudes, choices, actions, testimony. In essence the Spirit reminds us of the commandment of love and calls us to live it.
A Christian without memory is not a true Christian but only halfway there: a man or woman, a prisoner of the moment, who doesn’t know how to treasure his or her history, doesn’t know how to read it and live it as salvation history. With the help of the Holy Spirit, however, we are able to interpret interior inspirations and life events in light of Jesus’ words. And thus within us grows the knowledge of memory, knowledge of the heart, which is a gift of the Spirit. May the Holy Spirit rekindle the Christian memory within all of us! And there, that day with the apostles, was Our Lady of Memory, who from the beginning meditated on all those things in her heart. Mary, our Mother, was there. May she help us on this path of memory.
- How do you use memory in living out your faith?
- What practices can help us sharpen our memory and help us use it more consistently?
- What happens when we lose our memory of how God has acted in our life story?