VATICAN CITY (CNS): Just as the human body is threatened by breathing polluted air, the human soul is threatened by images and ideas that glorify violence or the exploitation of others, Pope Benedict XVI said.
“The metaphor of the ‘impetuous wind’ of Pentecost makes one think of how precious it is to breathe clean air both with the lungs – the physical – as well as with the heart – the spiritual,” the Pope said on May 31 during Mass for the feast of Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit, which was poured out on the disciples at Pentecost and available to every follower of Jesus for all time, is the “healthy air” of love, the Pope said.
In his homily during the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope focused on the use of wind or breath and of fire to describe the movement of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
The Pope said the image of wind “makes us think of the air, which distinguishes our planet from the other heavenly bodies and allows us to live on it. What air is for biological life, the spirit is for spiritual life.”
“And just as there exists atmospheric pollution, which poisons the environment and living beings, so there exists a pollution of the heart and of the spirit, which mortifies and poisons spiritual existence,” he said.
Pope Benedict said it was right that protecting the environment had become a priority today, but it was equally important that people began combating “the many products polluting the mind and heart” today, including “images that make a spectacle of pleasure, violence and contempt for men and women”.
The other image used to describe the Holy Spirit is fire, the energy of the Holy Spirit brought to earth by Christ, he said.
Fire is a metaphor for power, an energy that can be used for good or for evil, the Pope said.
However, when human beings recognised God as the creator and the lord of the universe, they tended to be more careful with the way they use power, he said, because they know that the “pure, essential and personal ‘fire’ is the fire of love”.