gifts of the holy spirit

Virtues are a way to reflect on the light of Christ at Advent

Advent is a time to direct our hearts and minds to the birth of Christ. In this season, we give thanks for our blessings and grow in our relationship with God. As we reflect on the new life in Christ, we look at Advent as a time of new beginnings and renewed hope.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Piety is embracing God, others with real love, not fake devotion

Pope Francis embraced a girl as he arrived to lead his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 4.

VATICAN CITY -- Being pious is not squeezing one's eyes shut to the world and putting on a sweet little angel face, Pope Francis said.

Piety is opening up one's heart to God and one's arms to embrace everyone as brothers and sisters, he said June 4 at his weekly general audience.

"The gift of piety that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us meek; it makes us peaceful, patient and at peace with God in gentle service to others," he said.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Destroying creation is destroying a gift of God

A young man touched Popoe Francis during the pontiff's weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 14

VATICAN CITY -- Polluting or destroying the environment is like telling God one does not like what He created and proclaimed to be good, Pope Francis said.

The Bible says that after every stage of creation, God was pleased with what He had made, the pope said May 21 at his weekly general audience. "To destroy creation is to say to God, 'I don't like it.'"

On the other hand, he said, safeguarding creation is safeguarding a gift of God. "This must be our attitude toward creation: safeguarding it. If not, if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us. Don't forget that!"

POPE'S MESSAGE | God makes no one struggle with life's challenges alone

Pope Francis laid his hands on a newly ordained priest during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican May 11. The pope ordained 13 men to the priesthood during the Mass.

VATICAN CITY -- God is always by our side, never giving us more than we can handle, Pope Francis said.

The countless women and men who stand tall through enormous difficulties, pain and especially persecution, are armed with the divine gift of fortitude that gives them the strength and hope to go on, he said.

"It will do us good to think about these people: If they can do it, why can't I? Let's ask the Lord for the gift of fortitude," he said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square May 14.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Take up God's offer to face life's problems with his love, wisdom

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth talked with Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican April 3. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, made a one-day visit to meet with the pope and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

VATICAN CITY -- People can choose either to tackle life's challenges with the loving and wise heart of God or be driven by their own passions and interests, Pope Francis said.

All people, whether they know it or not, have access to the gift of the Holy Spirit, "who teaches us to see with God's eyes, to feel with God's heart, to speak with God's words," helping people build a peaceful and loving home, church and world, he said.

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