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 said in his Pentecost homily Sunday.
"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, CNS reports.
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, he 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 is right that protecting the environment has become a priority today, but it is equally important that people begin 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.
"Taking possession of the energies of the cosmos - the 'fire' - the human being today seems to affirm himself as a god and to want to transform the world by excluding, putting aside or even denying the creator of the universe," the pope said.
People must fight spiritual pollution, pope says on Pentecost (Catholic News Service)