From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 15, 2011
Senior, English, with a Specialization in Creative Writing,
and Theater Double Major
One of the priests whom I most respect recently described it this way: amidst the details, which are often important and good, we are invited to receive the Spirit by emptying ourselves. I think of it as being anchored in the Lord; whatever I do, from the tiniest decisions to the largest, I am invited to listen to the Spirit speak to me. He speaks in our thoughts and our daily activities. If we are anchored in him, he will guide our prayer and our activities will become a kind of prayer as well. We must dash our pride and let him be our foundation.
And his is a gentle direction. I might think I need to pray about my future in graduate school, but as I think of it, as I pray about it, it slowly morphs into prayer about my fears and then prayer about my family and then prayer about my mother and then I recognize God calling me to healing. I did not babble; I did not force the topic. I let the associations of a thought turn into a new thought; it is receptivity to the Spirit that leads me to prayer and healing. It is listening.
The reading from Isaiah indicates how Christ, the Word, transforms us. Our work is to let him work. He makes our spiritual lives “fertile and fruitful.” This is available to us in the Scriptures, for instance. One Scriptural phrase offers a wealth of interior healing and growth. If we listen.
I am by no means very good at receiving this grace to listen to the Father. I ignore him daily, and that is the root of my sins. But if I am aware of the Holy Spirit at work in my heart, I will know that I should not make a retort when my friend snaps at me, for example. If I did retort, it would be because my friend hurt my pride and ego, but the Father says, Let it go. I am your foundation, your anchor, and the evil spirit cannot hurt my pride. Let me transform you.
And how this transformation is especially evident in the Eucharist! Even as we receive the consecrated bread and wine, as we receive Christ himself, we are invited to let him transform us into him! The practice of the hour fast before communion becomes imbued with so much more joy and meaning when we recognize how essential it is to empty ourselves so that we can receive God.
All we do is “cry out” to the Lord, as the Psalm says. We often try to make our relationship with God so difficult, but God works in simplicity. We “cry out” to him in distress. We allow him to do the work. We let him transform us. We accept the sacrifice of his Son, as ashamed as we are of it, as much as we wish that the death of Jesus Christ was not the reality. We receive him. We listen.
He knows how his Kingdom is to come. He is the Power that makes his will be done. He offers us our daily bread. He forgives us, and he protects us. This is what he invites us to receive. If we would only stop babbling and listen.
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