VATICAN CITY, JUL 8, 1998 (VIS) - At today's weekly general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul reflected on the mystery of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, enlivened and animated by the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the Church numbered about 120 members, and then grew to over 3,000 persons after Peter's address. "The true uniqueness does not lie in this extraordinary numerical growth, but in the presence of the Holy Spirit... This birth in the Spirit, which happened to the entire Church at Pentecost, is renewed for every believer in baptism when we become immersed 'in just one Spirit' to become members 'of just one Body'."

Citing St. Augustine, the Holy Father stated, "What our spirit, that is, our soul, is for our body, the Holy Spirit is for ... the Body of Christ, which is the Church."

"The Spirit," John Paul II remarked, "which lives in the Church, also dwells in the heart of all the faithful... 'To becomes saints' is possible if we let ourselves become sanctified by the One who is the Spirit, collaborating docilely with his transforming action... We can say that the Holy Spirit is like the soul of our soul, and thus the secret of our sanctification." In concluding remarks, the Pope stated, "St. Paul teaches us that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, closely linked to Jesus' resurrection, is also the basis of our final resurrection."

Permission to reprint Granted Date: 98-07-13
From: (Philip F. Lawler)
Vatican Information Service