In the Spirit, He is with Us
A song from the musical Chess contains the lyrics, “No one in your life is with you constantly, no one is completely on your side.” Anyone who has missed a family member or friend at an important moment in life can relate to this sad sentiment. When someone tells us, “I am with you in spirit”, even if we don’t doubt their desire, a part of us might still lament their physical absence.
This month we celebrate Ascension and Pentecost. Jesus told his Apostles that it would be better that he go so that he could send the Spirit; and our Faith promises that this is not a lamentable absence.
Jesus ascends in his humanity to the throne of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. As the Spirit made Jesus present in Mary’s womb at the Annunciation, and in the Apostles themselves at Pentecost, the Spirit makes Jesus present among us now.
Jesus promised his disciples that he would be with us always, and when Jesus promises to be with us in Spirit, he sends forth the Spirit to make him present to us in the flesh.
Let us beg for eyes that recognise how Jesus fulfils this promise in the sacraments, and in the apostles he sends us today – those people who touch our lives and are filled with his Spirit, and become the living face of Christ for us.
Someone is with me constantly… the Spirit through whom Jesus continues to become flesh, and dwells among us!
Father Richard Veras
Without a yearning for truth cultivated and deeply embedded in our character, we can easily be swept up in current intellectual fashions. Novelty and innovation exercise a powerful appeal. The rupture with old ways and old thinking, the replacement of them with the new, is not just an intellectual act. A subtle inclination of rebellion is often taking place. The desire to be independent in one’s thinking and in one’s decisions has a seductive quality, especially for the young. But often what parades outwardly as independence in thought is simply an unreflective need to embrace the ruling opinions of the time.
When no critical faculty is exercised from a source deeper in the soul, it is easy to fall under the sway of views disdainful of older traditions. In the religious realm, this is often disastrous. The incapacity to perceive sacred questions in the truths of religion leads sometimes to a permanent loss of interest in religious faith. At some point a soul must have, on the contrary, a profound experience of the sacred, which by its nature is always an incomplete taste, provoking a desire to know more. This need is fundamental for religious faith.
The contemplative life in one sense is an ongoing intensification of this initial encounter with sacredness. The indestructible drawing power of the sacred, rooted in changeless truth, carries the contemplative life forever. Intellectual fashion will seem quite unsubstantial and flimsy against this far deeper attraction for the soul.
Father Donald Haggerty
Father Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is currently serving at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Hello, We have been asked to look for willing persons to take part in an exercise to help a student in her submission for a Masters qualification. We understand that she is conducting research on the role religion and other factors plays in how juries make decisions (regarding guilt and sentencing). The link below provides the outline of the exercise for your consideration. Hope you can help.