If we make the right choice — to live in trusting surrender to God, we have nothing to worry about. We have challenges and pain and bills to pay, of course. Some challenges that were once unthinkable and can be unspeakable. In it all, we believe that we are in union with it all that is beautiful and enduring. Here’s a bit from Pope Francis’s homily Sunday morning:
the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well. God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to the Spirit, let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!
It was Confirmation Day at St. Peter’s and Pope Francis spoke with love and enthusiasm about the Holy Spirit:
he brings us the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us. The Spirit changes us!
There he goes repeating himself again. These are not just words. This is the deepest and fullest reality, the meaning of our lives.
We need courage. We need to know it is safe to have courage. That God is real and he loves us boundlessly. In constant encounter with Christ our faith is strengthened, we are transformed, we can share our great gift with a world that longs for the order it brings and magnificent hope it promises:
There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives. This is especially so whenever we feel poor, weak and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness, riches to our poverty, conversion and forgiveness to our sinfulness. The Lord is so rich in mercy: every time, if we go to him, he forgives us. Let us trust in God’s work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses. Commit yourselves to great ideals, to the most important things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles.
As St. John of the Cross said:
Take care to preserve your heart in peace; let no happening of this world upset it…. Even if everything here below crumbled apart and all things were against us, there would be no use in upsetting ourselves over it, for that would bring more harm then benefit.
In his book In the School of the Holy Spirit, Fr. Jacques Philippe writes:
The greatest harm that upsetting ourselves does to us is that it makes us incapable of following the impulses of the Holy Spirit.
Maintaining peace is linked to the practice of silence. This silence is not an empty silence; it is peace, attentiveness to God’s presence and attentiveness to others, waiting in trust and hope in God. We sometimes let ourselves be overtaken by excessive noise — not so much physical noise as the ceaseless whirlwind of thoughts, imaginations, and words that we’ve heard or said — and all this merely feeds our worries, fears, and frustrations, and obviously leaves the Holy Spirit little chance of making himself heard. Silence is not emptiness…. It is a capacity for returning almost spontaneously within ourselves, drawn by the presence of God within us.
Silence! Even here in all the noise of the Internet we can help one another with the silence. So that we may all know the Holy Spirit, present in our lives. So that we may trust. So that we might become ablaze with the Spirit and “fonts of grace from which the community sets about the conversion of the world“!
That seemed to call for an exclamation point.