It’s amazing how the Spirit works! As I waited for my coffee to brew this morning, I decided to clear off my coffee table. I grabbed a book I had just finished reading and decided to put it back in my bookcase. While there, I browsed the many titles and one of them caught my eye – Praying with Saint Paul: Daily Reflections on the Letters of the Apostles Paul. I opened it to April 17 and here’s what I read:
Circulating the Spirit – Fr. William M. Joensen
Humans continue to try to build things on alternatively larger and smaller scales, all in an attempt to decipher and master the universe. This is the motivation behind the building of the world’s largest particle collider to date. It is composed of a circular tunnel extending for many miles that has been described as a kind of Babel built underground. Dozens of countries manufactured its components and provided scientific expertise, all speaking different native tongues, but united in the common purpose to reduce the world to its most minute particles, including a long postulated particle that imparts mass to all others.
Even if and when they are successful in overcoming their Babel-like origins and achieving their aim, investigators who would thereby claim to have explained the universe would ignore dimensions of reality that cannot be accelerated into existence by mere mortals. This mysterious dimension is met only by the will expressed in words such as: “Jesus is Lord.” “Let it be done to me.” “only say the word and I shall be healed.” “I baptize you.” “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” “I absolve you.” “Teach us to pray.”
These words are entrusted to the people of God. Some are pronounced exclusively by ministerial priests, and some are said by all who exercise their baptismal priesthood. These words are taken to heart and kept there. God’s people are “kept” people. But they are not prisoners; they are truly free, with the freedom of the children of God.
The realm of Spirit is not inherently opposed to matter. Rather, it is the dimension of God’s being encircling all that is, imparting meaning and transforming all that the Spirit touches: water, oil, bread, wine, and human beings. The Lordship of Jesus is grasped by the only beings whose own flesh may become the dwelling place of the living God. We are remade by the Spirit, and are capable of making the Lord known.
Master of the universe, you overcome the chaos that we humans encounter, and that we ourselves create. Allow me humbly to yield to the movements of your Spirit in my life, so that I may be a channel of Spirit and life for others, as all my being declares that you alone are Lord.
This reflection is based on Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 12:3 “and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Upon reading the entire reflection, I was moved by the words “God’s people are a ‘kept’ people. But they are not prisoners; they are truly free, with the freedom of the children of God.” After reading Paul’s words, I realized what he was getting at. As children of God we are, or at least should be, free – free of worry, free of anxiety, free of fear and all the negative things that come with being “of this world.” We CANNOT proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, if we do not trust that we are a “kept” people. That means living by the Holy Spirit or “going with the flow” trusting in God, as I like to say.