Wednesday after Wednesday, Pope Francis spends more time on his Popemobile than delivering his weekly catechesis.
'I love you. I pray for you.â?
In his last catechesis before Pentecost, he talked about a gift of the Holy Spirit that is easily misunderstood: the gift of piety.
'Some people think that being pious means closing one's eyes and putting on a saintly expression, no? And also acting like a saint, no? No, that is not the gift of piety.
With the gift of piety, the Pope explained, the Holy Spirit helps Christians treat God like a close friend.
'A friendship that changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy. That's why the gift of piety makes us give thanks and praise. And this is the most authentic sense of our prayer and adoration.â?
Christians who love and give thanks to God, the Pope went on, are usually more sensitive to their neighbor's needs.
'The gift of piety enlarges our relationship and communion with God and makes us live as His children. At the same time, it helps us pour this love to others, and see them as brothers.â?
With this General Audience, Pope Francis addressed large crowds of pilgrims for the second time this week: 35,000 pilgrims filled St. Peter's Square on Wednesday and more than 50,000 met him at Rome's Olympic Stadium last Sunday June 1.
On Friday he'll meet 70,000 Italian carabinieri, and 200,000 pilgrims are expected to attend the ceremonies he will preside over this weekend at the Vatican. By the end of this week, Pope Francis will have met with 355,000 people.