Father Mark, Reflections

Spirit

Scene at a high school football game:

Home team stands yelling:  “We’ve got spirit yes we do!  We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?”

Visitor stands responds with greater volume: “We’ve got spirit yes we do!  We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?”

Home team responds with a more resounding volume:  “We’ve got spirit yes we do!  We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?”

The cheer plays out after a few more rounds as everyone is gassed out from screaming.

This is one kind of spirit.  Its lots of fun.  It’s especially been hyped up during the recent political season. 

How does the Spirit of God play into this?   Let’s take a look at Elijah (19):

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

God communes with us in the quiet.  Elementary school teachers know how to quiet a room of noisy children.   They begin to decrease their volume and number of words.  It’s only when we’re in a state of quiet, when we can hear. 

Prayer in its most intimate form is discovered in the process of listening to God—for that gentle whisper.  I have to assess myself if I am quiet enough to hear God instead of my own thoughts.   I instruct those who are searching for ways through spiritual conflict or malaise to begin prayer with an appetizer of talking to God about everything that comes to mind until we have nothing left to say.  Once we’re empty and words and thoughts, the real prayer begins.  After all, why go to a professional for advice about a matter and once finished explaining our situation, get up, turn around and leave before the professional has the opportunity to respond to us?  The same is true with prayer. 

God will fill every inch of our being with his astounding love and wisdom if we but wait long enough to hear the Holy One’s gentle whisper summoning us to embrace us with Heaven.

Listen for the Gentle Whisperer.  And be filled.

Fr. Mark