One of my favorite lines from sacred scripture comes to us in the Acts of the Apostles (17:28). “For in Him, we live and move and have our being.” St. Paul is quoting from one of the ancient Greek poets about the God from whom we come but cannot see. He uses the words, “grope for”, in describing man’s efforts to know the “Unknown God”.
What Paul is struggling to describe is the subtle way God reveals Himself to us. The image is almost like a fish in water. Like that water, God is all around us. He holds us up. Wherever we go, he is there. We breathe him in. We live in him and he lives in us.
But, how do we see God or feel him if he is all around us like water or air? This is where we need help. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes of faith. We need the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to the quickening of love (“Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7)
St. John in his first letter tells us, “No one has ever seen God.” So, then how will we come to know him by the Holy Spirit? Lacking physical evidence we turn to “Signs of the presence of God”. Scripture again points us in the right direction by giving us signs to look for. They are called the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit.
The Gifts are generally intellectual and spiritual abilities helping us apply the teachings of Christ to everyday life. The Fruits are generally observable states of goodness that have as their source the presence of God.
They are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith, gentleness and chastity.
To each of these I’ll highlight some human moment that gives us a sign of the Holy Spirit.
Love. Any act that places the well being of the loved one before oneself. “Love does not seek its own”. 1 Cor. 13.
Joy. That deep happiness that comes, when in spite of hardships, you’ve “done the right thing”.
Peace. When someone has devoted themselves to reconciling with someone who is estranged. Conversely, to be won over by the loving concern of a “Peacemaker”.
Patience. Your child/spouse/friend disappoints you for the hundredth time. You smile and assure them things will be right someday.
Kindness. So simple; pure goodness for its own sake. Speaks for itself.
Generosity. Giving more than is necessary . . . because you want their happiness.
Faith. Knowing God loves all of us, and as a result, “All will be well.”
Gentleness. A largeness of spirit that can afford a kind word in the face of harshness. Large like God is large.
Chastity. Honoring another person in their body. Requiring sexual desire to serve its Godly purpose (the gift of children and the bond of love) because that is what true love demands.
Here’s hoping you’ve caught a glimpse of the Holy Spirit in your life!!
A blessed Pentecost. Fr. Tim
“Let’s Talk Again”
Please join us Saturday night, May 30, at 6 pm. in the Gathering Space for “Let’s Talk Again“.
There will be a dish to pass. Friendly conversation will follow about the Catholic Faith.
Fr. John will talk about changes in the Church over his 50 years as a priest. Fr. Tim will point us to the Synod of Bishops on the Family to be held this October in Rome. Come with your questions and observations. It’s going to be informative and fun!
All are warmly invited. Register online or call the Parish Office to register by May 28th. Bring a dish to pass!!!