… Just put all in the Hands of God and have no doubts!
I am leaving for four days of my own personal retreat. I am going to Mount Saviour, a Benedictine monastery in Elmira, NY. Pray for me as I pray for all of you. This is the post for Monday, May 18, which I am posting ahead of time.
The Holy Spirit is often the forgotten member of the Blessed Trinity. In today’s first reading, Acts 19:1-8, St. Paul encounters a group of disciples in Ephesus who had not heard of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul lays his hands upon them and “the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” The Holy Spirit is the giver of special gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, modesty, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, compassion, and many other gifts that assist us in becoming the persons that God knows that we can be and wants us to be. We have but to ask the Holy Spirit to gift us. To the above gifts, I add the gift of a healthy sense of humor which enables us to put life in perspective; the gift of being able to enter into silence which is so necessary for self-knowledge and intimacy with Jesus and finally passion – an enthusiasm for one’s faith and commitment to Jesus.
There is no question about it! I John 4:11 is to the point,
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another… “
We are mandated to love one another. Love of others is not an option. But what do we mean? We are not talking about romantic love but the love that Jesus teaches us about in the Gospel. Love is a conscious choice that I make for the good of another. Whether I like the person or not is immaterial. I can go above my feelings and choose to love. I can pray for the other. I can avoid downplaying the other and seeking to destroy them or embarrass them. I can do good deeds for them. I do not have to like them or their deeds. In fact, I may have to speak out and act out against some of their deeds, but I don’t seek to hurt them, and I always pray for them. And what’s my motivation? God loves me and gives me unconditional love and acceptance. If I have received such an abundance of Love, I must share it. Love cannot be hoarded, by its very nature it must be shared.
In today’s Gospel, John 16:23b-28, we hear Jesus say to His disciples – and to us –
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you…”
Jesus tells us to approach God, His Father, as our loving Father. The attitude we have is all important. We approach the Father not in a demanding or self righteous way nor do we approach the Father as though we were dirt. We approach God with an open, honest, trusting heart. We ask for what we genuinely need. We ask for others. We ask for all of humankind. And at the end of our prayer of asking we conclude with “Your Will be done!” And that is the hardest part of our asking. We ask – but we do not demand. We leave it all in the Hands of the Father who loves us. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, we ask and honestly share our feelings but conclude with “Your Will be done!” We trust that the Father who loves us will make all things well in the end. Mystery. We entrust ourselves to this great Mystery.
Today we remember the Ascension of Jesus into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father. Our Gospel response summarizes our Scripture readings:
- Go and teach all nations, says the Lord.
- I am with you always, until the end of the world.
The first sentence is our mandate. We are to preach the Gospel to all not only by our words but mainly by the way we live. We are to seek to integrate into our lives the teachings of Jesus. In fact, we are mandated to become the person of Jesus in our little corner of the world.
The second sentence is our promise. Jesus is with us – no matter what happens. Jesus remains with us until the end of our personal lives and until the end of this world.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!