Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits,... Read more
We've Got Spirit! How About You?
By Chris Sparks (May 6, 2016)
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit* to those who ask him? — Lk 11:13
The Christian life is unlivable, impossible, intolerable — without the Holy Spirit.
We forget that all the time and get grumpy when someone around us falls. "Geez, he knew better! She's smarter than that! Come on, it's like they're not trying at all!"
Sometimes, we get grumpy at ourselves.
"I know better than that! I'm better than that! I should be able to break this pattern of sin. Why am I always confessing the same sins over and over again?"
But the Christian life is flat out unlivable, impossible, and intolerable — without the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit, the Christian life becomes merely difficult, excruciating, and a real pain in the hands, feet, and side, not to mention that humiliating crown of thorns we also get to take up and place on our heads. The Christian life also becomes a foretaste of Heaven, a source of infinite joys and eternal bliss, a way of peace, true happiness, and fresh life. But the Christian life is all about being like Jesus, and there's no sharing in His Resurrection unless we've first shared in his Crucifixion.
But neither Resurrection nor Crucifixion is possible for us — without the Holy Spirit.
The Christian life is a superhuman endeavor, far greater than we are, demanding the strength and the love of God. Christian morality is far more than natural human virtue can handle, something we forget all too often. To live and love like Jesus, we must have the same Spirit as He.
So we must pray, and receive the Sacraments, and read the Word of God. We must live love, and keep the divine Charity within our hearts by the grace of God. We must be mystical temples of God, in the words of Marian Founder Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski, and tabernacles of the Eucharist in between our Holy Communions, in the words of St. Faustina Kowalska. We must bear the Trinity within us and live our lives in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in the Father's merciful love.
Come, Holy Spirit! We say it, we pray it, but do we really mean it?
Come, Holy Spirit! Let your fire fall! But do we really appreciate what it is we're saying, what we're praying? We're asking for the fire that made the universe to come and reform us in the image of Christ, bring us to life with a conflagration of grace, transform our sinful selves so that we die to the old and rise in the new.
Invite in the Holy Spirit, and you breathe in fire.
So how can we not, we Christians, we weak sinners who labor under such heavy crosses, so many burdens? How can we not ask for the jet fuel, the rocket blast, the immense force and strength of the Holy Spirit to come to us, inspire us, suffuse us, and let us burn with love for God and neighbor? How on earth can we ever bear the intolerable burden of loving one another as Jesus has loved us without that fire from beyond the stars, that blessed bird winging his way down to perch upon our shoulders and whispering with a voice like a gale, that still, small voice murmuring life and truth and the way into our ears, our souls, our lives?
Come, Holy Spirit! Pray it, and mean it in this Eastertide, these days of waiting before Pentecost, this time of anticipation and expectation for that fire to fall, that winged Spirit to descend, that Love between the Lover and Beloved to seize us and swiftly bring us into the raging, loving, merciful fire that is our God. Pray, and wait, remembering that God comes in His own time, even when He's expected, even when He's invited. He is not, after all, a tame God, no, but wild, unfettered, and free. He will hurry to us because of His love, not because of any power we imagine we have over Him. And in God's good time, we shall be transformed, renewed, brought beyond all sin into the freedom of infinite, eternal love.
And so we pray:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.