Pope Francis explains why the Christian life is demanding

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At his General Audience, the Pope reflects on the “the journey of Christian discipleship,” which St. Paul describes with an “image of walking.”

The Pope says “the Holy Spirit guides 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.”

Pope Francis also explains that the Christian life “is demanding” and “requires constant struggle” to “overcome the ever-present temptations to anger, envy and selfishness.”


Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our catechesis on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, we now turn to the Apostle’s exhortation to “live by the Spirit”. Paul uses the image of “walking” to describe the journey of Christian discipleship (Gal 5:16). 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.

I greet the English-speaking visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England and the United States of America, as well as the group of American military chaplains meeting in Rome in these days. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. God bless you!

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