VATICAN CITY — Listen to the Holy Spirit because he is giving people the good news that God loves them and can renew, purify and transform their lives, Pope Francis said.
The Holy Spirit is the living water that "quenches the thirst in our lives because he tells us that we are loved by God as his children, that we can love God as his children and with his grace we can live as children of God, like Jesus," the pope said May 8 at his weekly general audience.
Speaking to more than 80,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis continued his audience talks about the affirmations of faith in the creed, focusing on the Holy Spirit.
"The Holy Spirit is an inexhaustible well of the life of God in us," he said.
Every human person in every epoch and from all walks of life "desires a full and beautiful life, a life that is not threatened by death but that may mature and grow in fullness," the pope said.
"Mankind is like a wanderer who, across the deserts of life, thirsts for water that's alive, gushing and fresh, able to fully slacken his deep desire for light, love, beauty and peace. Everyone desires this," he said.
It is Jesus who gives humanity this living water through the Holy Spirit, the pope said, "so that our lives may be guided, animated and nourished by God."
"When we say a Christian is a spiritual person, what we mean is this: A Christian is someone who thinks and acts according to God, according to the Holy Spirit," he said.
But, he asked, "do we think and act according to God or do we let ourselves be led by so many other things?"
All Christians must reflect on this question and honestly answer in their hearts whether they are listening to God or are distracted, he added.
The living water of the Holy Spirit, the pope said, is a gift from the resurrected Christ "who dwells in us, purifies us, renews us, transforms us so that we can share in the life of God who is love."
That is why St. Paul affirmed in his Letter to the Galatians that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control," he said.
The Holy Spirit brings people into divine life as children of God where they can live, as "true children, in a relationship of intimacy, freedom, and faith in the love and mercy of God," he said.
Living as children of God lets people see with Christ's eyes, and see others as "brothers and sisters in Jesus to respect and love," he said.
The pope said if people were to listen to the Holy Spirit, they would hear him say, "'God loves you.' And we, do we truly love God and others like Jesus did?"
"Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit, allow him to speak to our hearts and he will tell us this: that God is love, he's always waiting for us, he is a father who loves us like a real dad and only the Holy Spirit can tell our hearts this," he said.
Before praying the "Our Father" in Latin, the pope interrupted the organ player to reiterate and emphasize the message he wanted people to walk away with at the end of the audience: "We have to listen to the Holy Spirit who is inside us!"
"What does he tell us? That God is good, that God is a father, that he loves us and always forgives us," he said to applause.