instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, October 11, 2013

The harmony of the Holy Spirit

At a general audience a few days ago, Pope Francis spoke what I thought was a nice bit about the Church as a "House of Harmony":
The Church is Catholic because it is the “House of harmony” where unity and diversity are able to be combined to be a richness. We think of the image of a symphony, which means accord and harmony, different instruments sound together; each one maintains its unmistakable timbre and its characteristics of sound are in accord with something in common. Then there is the one who leads, the director, and in the symphony that is performed all together have a “harmony,” but the timbre of each instrument, the peculiarity of each isn’t cancelled, rather, it is valued to the utmost!

It is a beautiful image which tells us that the Church is like a great orchestra in which there is variety; there is variety among the components, but there is no conflict, no opposition. It is a variety that lets itself be founded in the harmony of the Holy Spirit; He is the true “Maestro,” He himself is harmony. And here we ask ourselves: do we live harmony in our communities? Do we accept the other, do we accept that there is a just variety or do we tend to make everything uniform? Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to make us ever more “Catholics”!
Here the Pope is stealing from himself -- specifically, from his Pentecost homily:
The Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – “Ipse harmonia est”. He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community – the Apostle John tells us in his Second Letter - and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn v. 9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?