Daily Reflection
October 13th, 2003
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
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Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
Luke 11:29-32

    ... the Gospel about his Son, established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead.  Romans 1
     At the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.  Luke 11

A very human Jesus must have gotten frustrated, from time to time.  He is driving out demons and yet experiencing fierce opposition.  He must have tasted, again and again, the temptations that came at him full force in the desert:  "Use your power.  Give them a sign!  You're never going to win some of these folks over, standing on the side of the poor and the defenseless.  Show off a little.  It's the only language they understand."  Every temptation, every emotional or thought-through response to hard-heartedness, must have placed him face-to-face with the reality of his surrender to the Father-- face-to-face with the Cross itself.

We know the Good News.  Paul announces it at the beginning of his letter to the Romans.  The "Spirit of holiness" liberated Jesus from death.

On the days that you and I get tempted, it would be wonderful to turn to the Spirit of holiness and ask that we might be freed from the discouragements that bring our spirits down.  So often, when things don't seem to be going well for us, the evil spirit, the spirit of selfishness, just takes over.  Just think of how impatient we are, or how many times we are displeased with or judgemental about someone else's way of doing things.  A sure sign of the evil spirit's presence is when we start feeling sorry for ourselves.  "Nobody's paying attention to me, to my needs."

Turning to the Spirit of holiness lifts our spirits out of this hole of discouragement.  It can free our spirits from negative, and even divisive, patterns and allow us to see and embrace our mission - one person, one choice at a time.  What is God's Spirit of holiness asking of me, in relation to my spouse, my family members, my colleagues, work associates?  Usually, it will start with asking me to listen to them better, then to try to understand their point of view and their needs.  And, then the Spirit will renew us in our mission to love them, with forgetful-of-self love.  Of course, the Spirit will offer us the grace to love those who drive us crazy, at least to have compassion on their struggle or to pray for their liberation.

I think Jesus was sustained by the Spirit of holiness, who always drew him from holding on to his life, his needs, and sent him to love and to console and to heal, by letting go of his needs, by letting go of his very life.  Freed himself, Jesus could experience the Spirit sending him to bring liberty to captives, to set the downtrodden free.

Oh, Spirit of holiness, come upon my heart today.  Calm me.  Ease the tension.  Still the anxiety.  Slow my pace.  As I recall my schedule for today, let me move through the day with the grace of your presence.  Accompany me in those places, with those people with whom I might be tempted to lose the peace you offer me.  Teach me to be gentle and patient, kind and affirming, clear and honest.  Give me courage and passion about doing good, making the right choices for others, for the greater good, especially when that is not my desire.  With your power, give me a big, generous heart today, as I come face-to-face with the ways you ask me to carry my cross, believing in the fulness of the eternal life won through the Paschal Mystery we celebrate.

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