Monday, May 13, 2013

The Gift of the Spirit does not belong to us until it is shared

 John 14:8-17 (25-27) wants us to know the intimacy he shares with the Father and how this relationship belongs to us too. His lesson stresses the need to be a “servant” and to love one another. John’s gospels begin with action, i.e., service to one another and proceed to understanding. Isn’t this the way life works? We teach our children to be polite before they know why or how politeness and civility adds to the strength of a life and a civilization. We teach our children to learn how to calculate simple mathematical problems before they learn the theory of math (if they or we ever do so!).  We teach our children to do the "right thing," before they even know why it is right. The same can be said about the Gospel of John. Only after Jesus shows the disciples how to be a servant, and demonstrates that to them, does he bring them into the realms of intimacy and knowledge which He shares with the Father and that we in turn, can share with them. Our help resides in Jesus’ promise of intimacy with the Father, and becomes the gift of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, that will make it possible for our transformation to live God-centered lives.

Thomas Keating tells us that the Spirit of God, the promise of the Father, sums up in himself all the promises of Christ. For they all point to him. The Incarnation is a promise. The passion and death are promises. His resurrection and Ascension are each a promise. Pentecost itself, the outpouring of the Spirit, is a promise. He is the last, the greatest and the completion of all God’s promises, the living summary of them all…The Spirit, as a promise, is a gift, not a possession. Like the air we breathe, we can have all we wish for, but it does not belong to us. It must be shared. He is all ours as long as we give him away…In fact it is in giving Him away that we truly make it known that we have received Him. (The Mystery of Christ, The Liturgy as Spiritual Experience.)


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