Daily Reflection
May 2nd, 2000
Joan Lanahan
Nursing School Chaplain
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Saint Athanasius, bishop and doctor - Memorial 
Acts 4:32-37
Psalms 93:1-2, 5
John 3:7-15

Big winds have been blowing through Nebraska the last few days.  You know how the wind feels.  Some of us little people can really be blown away by wind gusts.  We can see what the wind does: trees and bushes and new spring blossoms dance to and fro, windows shake, rattle and roll.  We don’t see the wind.  We feel its effects – like the Holy Spirit.

In Acts, we hear of the effects of the Spirit’s Presence.  The earliest community life sounds wonderful.  It’s an ideal to aspire to, for some of us.

We all belong to a community: a family, a support group, a parish, and a religious community.  Some communities are dedicated to faith.  Some are dedicated to personal growth.  Some are dedicated to justice and peace issues.  This reflection is about faith communities.

We each come to community with our beliefs and values.  Most of us have gone through a “Nicodemus time,” a time of questioning:  “How can I be transformed, renewed, find new meaning in my life?”  Jesus’ response to Nicodemus and to us is “You must be born from above.”  We desire to change and grow and become closer to our God who loves us but this is a gift.  It’s not our willpower that engenders growth; it’s the Presence of the Spirit.  We can only be open to Presence and request a new heart.

The same is true of community.  We gather together with our lives of faith, of love, of questions, of limitations.  We live, love, serve and struggle together trying to be faithful to God and to one another.  We have to go through life experiences together to really be committed to one another.  We need to learn to read the Presence of the Spirit among us to give us life.

I always marvel, am awed, watching a community grow.  We know the effects of Spirit's breath in times of peace and joy and in times of personal and communal struggle.  When we can support one another in our hard times, whether it’s a death or job loss, or grief with family, or conflict within the community itself, we will grow in intimacy and commitment.

Reflect for a few minutes on the communities you belong to.  Where or how do you see the Presence of the Holy Spirit?  Ask for the gift to be attentive to the Presence and Gifts of the Holy Spirit in your communities.

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