VATICAN CITY — The Holy Spirit is more than a pretty dove; it is an integral part of the Trinity and deserves a prime place in people's lives, Pope Francis said.
Many Christians say they get by with God the Father by praying the "Our Father" and with Jesus by receiving Communion, but that they aren't quite sure who the Holy Spirit is, he said during a morning Mass homily.
People who are aware of the Holy Spirit, he said, may know him only superficially, identifying him as "the dove, the one who offers the seven gifts," of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.
"The poor Holy Spirit is always in last place and doesn't find a prime place in our life," the pope said May 13 during Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
During the Mass, attended by Vatican Radio employees and officials at the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, including its president Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, the pope said the Holy Spirit is "God active in us," the one who "wakes up our memory."
Being able to recall the faith one inherited and remembering one's sinful nature and how Jesus came into one's life are essential parts of being a Christian, he said, according to Vatican Radio.
When someone is "a bit vain and believes himself to be a bit like a Nobel Prize laureate of holiness, memory does us good, too," he said.
"A Christian without a memory is not a real Christian; it is a man or a woman who is held prisoner by trends," a slave to the spur of the moment, he said.
Christians without memory of their sinful roots and God's promise are engaged in "idolatry," worshipping a god who has no direction and doesn't know how to lead the way, he said.
"Our God leads the way with us, mingles with us, walks with us, saves us, shapes history with us," he said.
The Holy Spirit jogs people's memory, reminding them where they came from and what conditions they were in before Jesus came to save them, he said.
He said the Holy Spirit says, "Remember where I found you: the last of the flock, you were straggling behind."
"Memory is a great grace" that renders life more fruitful, he said.
He called on Christians to pray for this grace so they won't forget the headway they've made, the graces received in their lives, and "the forgiveness of their sins, that they were slaves and the Lord set them free."