Shepherd of Faith

Inspiration for your journey to God!

Circulating the Spirit

circulating the Spirit

Spirit

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.

So today, don’t let the world news get you down. Don’t let it stop you from being free and proclaiming through your actions and responses that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Circulate the Spirit.  God bless you today and always.

We have the POWER to tread upon serpents

being faithful makes us powerful

We have the power!

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’ve just woken from a nap.  My intention is to start some spring cleaning and organizing but my heart is overwhelmed.  My heart is overwhelmed with people and situations I have placed there in prayer and it’s busting at the seams. I can feel it.  This is not the same feeling I get when I harden my heart but a pressure from its softening.  The softening of compassion.   It allows me to feel the pain,  anxiety and sadness of all who’ve asked me to pray for them.  I place these people and situations in my heart so that I won’t forget them.  More importantly, I place these people and situations in my heart because my heart is big enough, strong enough and made to withstand the pressure.  My heart is where the Spirit dwells.

What am I overwhelmed with?  I’m overwhelmed with concern for the sick and suffering:  for my brother who’s in the fight of his life; the brother whose closest support is both narcissistic and selfish; for a brother in Christ whom I recently met who’s also in the fight of his life.  There are so many others.   I’m overwhelmed with emotion for those who have lost loved ones:  those whose lack of faith leaves them inconsolable and those whose faith allows them the grace to rejoice.  I am overwhelmed with concern for the mother whose child has been wrongly accused of a serious offense and the consequences that may result from that accusation.

I feel so overwhelmed with concern and sadness.  It makes me wonder how I can maintain my joy?  As I wonder, tears well up in my eyes because I feel like such a hypocrite.  I feel like a hypocrite because I often advise my friends and family to not lose hope when they’re experiencing pain and struggle.  I’m usually the one who says “trust in God”, “pray” and  “all will be well.”

Today, the pressure of the struggle, sadness and evil that surrounds us suddenly became palpable for me.   I find myself asking:  what is going on? how can I possibly keep up?  So I give up cleaning, knowing that what I NEED to do, what really MATTERS at this moment is prayer.  I grab my Bible.   An act of defiance against the tempter.   Against the one who  believes my God-given spirit can be weakened or worse, BROKEN!  Not so, not so!

Before I opened my Bible, I decide to write a bit.  I need to vent, express myself and release some pressure, so I do.  When I open my writing notebook – BAM! God, front and center, never ever ceases to amaze me.

Here’s what I read:  The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even  the demons are subject to us because of your name.”  Jesus said “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.  Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the Spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:17-20

We are a powerful people!  Jesus tells us so in this Gospel story.  Shortly after acknowledging the power of the faithful, He reminds us that we should not rejoice over the “power” but over the fact that our names are written in Heaven.  We are children of God.  I am a child of God!

Today, amidst and despite the overwhelming emotion stirring within me, I rejoice over the Spirit also stirring within me.  The Spirit that’s always leading.   Leading me back to the place where God speaks. Back to that place where I hear and believe that ALL WILL BE WELL!  As I write, I switch my focus and I’m reminded of the survivors, of the faithful, of the graceful. Now the tears welling up are not only tears of joy but the tears that come when I am in God’s presence.  He is here with me, consoling me, giving me the eyes to see and the ears to hear! I can feel Him! Never underestimate the power of just being in God’s presence.  Praise God!  Thanks be to God!

Power comes with prayer.  Please pray with me and for me!  Please pray for peace in our world and in our hearts!  God bless you!

 

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