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Pope: Let yourself be filled with the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on May 01, 2024

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Isabella H. de Carvalho - published on 05/04/24

“Listening to the Spirit requires a certain internal attitude," Pope Francis wrote in a preface to a book that was released April 30 in Italian.

In a preface to a book on the “conversation in the spirit,” a dialogue and prayer method proposed by the Synod on the future of the Church that aims to allow participants to share and discuss, Pope Francis highlights the importance of letting the Holy Spirit lead one’s life, in order to build better communities and a better Church. 

“In the conversation in the Spirit, we find a participatory path oriented towards communion and the renewal of the mission, which encourages the participation of all and welcomes in communion and unity the great diversity that we all are,” the Pope said. 

[See the how-to at the bottom of this article]

What is the conversation in the Spirit and the synod?

The conversation in the spirit is a prayer and dialogue method promoted by the organizers of the Synod on the Future of the Church, a reflection process on the state of the Church that began in 2021, that is supposed to encourage all faithful to discuss and share their points of views and experiences in a spiritual context.

The Pope has often said that the Holy Spirit is the “protagonist” of the synodal process and needs to guide decisions and actions. 

The method itself is divided into four steps that alternate moments of silence, prayer, and listening with moments of dialogue and identification of the “steps” that “the Spirit” is calling the faithful to take together.

Pope Francis wrote the preface in 2023 when the book “The Conversation in the Spirit – The art of discernment and the practice of synodality,” by Jesuit Fathers Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves and Óscar Martín López, was first published in Spanish.

On April 30 an Italian version was released by the Vatican Publishing House.

First letting the Holy Spirit operate within yourself 

In the preface, the Pope explains that in order to be able to discuss different points of view and allow for a synodal Church experience, one must first have the right “interior disposition” to be ready to listen to others with an open mind. 

“The synodal path that we have undertaken as a Church constitutes a personal, community and an ecclesial spiritual experience, and therefore requires the individual work of each one within himself,” the Pope said. “Listening to the Spirit requires a certain internal attitude.”

“Conversation in the Spirit, discernment and synodality can only take place if we try to empty ourselves to fill ourselves with the Spirit, if our freedom loosens our material, ideological and emotional moorings, allowing the Spirit to guide us more effectively; if we cultivate within ourselves attitudes of humility, hospitality and welcome, and at the same time we ban self-sufficiency and self-referentiality. Only in this way can our communion and our mission be strengthened.”

All contributing to the same discussion and the importance of listening

Pope Francis then emphasizes that conversing in the spirit allows the faithful to contribute to the same discussion to work towards the same goal, discerning the best future for the Church.

All the faithful are “pouring into a common channel” meaning that all the “different points of view […] enrich that common thread,” the Pontiff explained. “A greater dose of conversation in the Spirit and ecclesiastical life would do us great good.”

Another essential element that the Pope highlights as fundamental in the “conversation in the spirit, discernment, and synodality” is an “open and vulnerable listening.”

“In fact it allows the Spirit to move us and make us change, to make us choose and to lead us to concrete decisions,” the Pope wrote.

“If everyone remains locked in the positions they had previously adopted, there will be no true conversation, nor true listening to the Spirit. He/she will not find anything that he/she can learn or assimilate from others and will be afraid of any decision that involves changes.”

Holy SpiritPope FrancisSynodVatican
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