The Power of the Holy Spirit

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Women, she writes, must stop trying to be liked and fearing failure. Today there are Lean In Circles and professionals who travel to motivate businesses to provide opportunities for women to grow.

I get it…I think. But it leaves me with a lot of questions.  How does a Christian lean in to the “Power of God?” Is the leaning into thePower of God something very different from the power that Sandberg is advocating? How does a man lean in?

The Power of God, understood as The Holy Spirit, is the third person of the most Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a practical force in everyday life. The Spirit is a mindfulness, it helps us live what Blessed John Henry Newman taught: each of us has a unique, God-inspired and unrepeatable mission in life, which will be left undone for all eternity if we don’t “suit up” in the power of the Holy Spirit and live for God now.

 

This means that, once we discern our field of mission as ordained, religious, or lay people, we have to discern (Lean In) every day, to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, to fulfill God’s will for us. The daily and ordinary drama is ongoing, because the action of the Holy Spirit is always with us.

Called and gifted we are to be more than generic Christians! Our gifts or charisms are given to us so that others may experience the presence of God. Perhaps I am a gifted painter, have a beautiful singing voice, or a marvelous cook. I may be a compassionate pastor, a person in the health field who cares deeply about another…the examples are many. These gifts are the power of God. When we actively use these for others it is the opposite of the treadmill of mediocrity. When others are moved toward God because of my gifts, I am conveying the Spirit of God.

I may be in a place or situation where no one has ever been. I may be asked to do something I have never done. I may be asked to assume responsibilities I never thought possible. I may be faced with incredible suffering or joy!

The Holy Spirit does not reside in a galaxy far away! The Holy Spirit does not come to us once (Baptism) but comes over and over. The POWER of the Holy Spirit is witnessed when the person or group loves and serves the other. We have this incredible power to lean into…simply by asking for it.

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This is the POWER that the world needs so badly.

Sr. Brenda Hermann MSBT

The Holy Spirit

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In 2009,a web based news service called Newsvine, published an article, The Odds That You Will Breathe a Single Molecule of Air That Once Traveled Through the Lungs of Jesus.

If science and the author Rees Sloan are to be believed, the very air we breathe today contains the very molecules that Jesus breathed. (At the same time, we are also breathing in a molecule or two of Judas! The challenge we face is to maximize one over the other!)

The Holy Spirit is often called the ‘Breath of Life.” In the Bible the word for Breath and the word for Spirit – in both Hebrew and Greek are identical. Perhaps the scientific fact and the quirk of language provide some perspective in thinking about the gift of the Holy Spirit.

At the last supper Jesus said to the disciples;  “I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you…  When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” (John 16: 7, 13).

The salvation won for us on the cross was not only for that time and place. Jesus did not know about mass media, the Internet or jet travel.  For him, digital computing meant counting on your fingers. Jesus never had to deal with old age, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease. Jesus didn’t even have to wrestle with the fact that gentiles, non-Jews, wanted to follow him.

He gave us the Holy Spirit and through this person of the Trinity, the Church is reminded of the teachings of Jesus and can apply them to contemporary situations.

That has been the story of the Church throughout history. It is our story as well.

For the Spirit to be present in our life, we don’t need hollering as much as we need harmony.

We don’t need clamor as much as we need cooperation.

We don’t need whooping as much as we need wholeness.

We don’t need people to get down as much as we need them to get together.

The infallible sign of the presence of the spirit is our love for one another.  All the rest is of no benefit if that isn’t present. Yes, today, different from the time of Christ, we do things differently. We look at things differently.  We think about things differently.

Those differences all come from the one God and we must do the work of discovering that what unites us is much more important than anything that divides us.

It is no accident that when the Holy Spirit came that first Pentecost Sunday “they were all in one place together,” as the book of Acts puts it.  

If Andrew had been jealous of John because he was the beloved disciple, if James had been angry at Peter for having denied the Lord, if Philip had been upset with Thomas for having doubted, if Matthew had shunned Mary Magdalene because of her background the Spirit would not have come.  Because they accepted each other, because they forgave each other, because they respected each other their unity and oneness could attract the Holy Spirit.  We all breathe the same air.

 

Stop. Take a breath. Are you breathing in the spirit of Jesus?

Fr. John Edmunds ST

Go Out to All of the World

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The Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus instructing his disciples to spread the Good News to all the world.  It was essential that his followers continue the works that he had begun.  It must have been staggering for eleven humble men from Galilee to receive such an imposing task.  Surely they could not imagine ever accomplishing such a thing.  Yet, Jesus followed his command immediately with a promise: “And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” (Matthew 28:20)

Those first disciples were sent out as we are today – on the greatest assignment in history.  But with them was the greatest presence in the world.  Jesus has never gone back on his promise.  He continues to be with his followers in a very real and powerful way.  Jesus still asks those who believe in him to make apostles of the whole world.  Not all of us can travel to far-away lands, of course, but we can bring the message of Jesus Christ into our families, our work places, our neighborhoods.

Making apostles has always been a chief effort of the Missionary Cenacle Family.

Our founder, Father Judge, recognized the vitality of the laity.  He believed that every Catholic could be an apostle in the providence of everyday life.  In the Catholic laity he saw a great treasure possessing the power to influence others for good.  He found hundreds of men and women ready to embrace the notion of discipleship.  An apostolic spirit took root deep in their hearts, a spirit that we in the Cenacle continue to discover and nurture in thousands of people today.

There is no magic formula for becoming a missionary.  We can learn a great deal through the example of the apostles and missionaries of the New Testament – Peter, Paul, Timothy, Luke, John, Philip and Barnabas.

In our own day, we can look to others who follow Christ by offering themselves in loving service to others.  Learning to be an apostle and missionary requires prayer, study and reflection.

Taking his cue from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Father Judge once wrote:

“There are many gifts in the giving of the Church, there are many calls to special missions and privileged service, but the Church can invite us to no higher way of living than that of the apostolic life.”

Deep in his heart, Father Judge knew that each of us can be an apostle. Like the first apostles, we often wonder how we can “make disciples of all the nations.”  Yet, like those apostles of long ago, we know that Jesus has not left us alone. He is indeed with us in the Holy Spirit, who helps us, guides us, and gives us the strength to change the world.

By Pat Regan, MCA