Our Companion, the Holy Spirit
April 26, 2022 (readings)
- Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
- Beth Van de Voorde
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to Heaven except the one who has come down from Heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, you sent your Son into the world that I might know him; you give me your Spirit so that I might be born again in you. You give me life, and I thank you. Let me pause, in this time of prayer. Remind me of these truths; speak your life-giving word to my heart. I believe in you; increase my faith. I trust in you; increase my hope. And Lord, I love you. Let me know you more.
The Holy Spirit as Wind: Numerous Old Testament passages are referenced in this timeless and beautiful dialogue between Nicodemus and Our Lord. The wind that blows where it wills reminds us of the gentle breeze in which Elijah encountered the Lord (1 Kings 19:11-13). The Lord was not in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the tiny whispering sound of the breeze. Perhaps in recalling this imagery with Nicodemus–and with us–the Lord Jesus wishes to remind us that his Spirit is the true craftsman of holiness and that he does not ask us to be in control, but to lend ourselves, entirely, in faith to him.
The Holy Spirit Lifts Up: Another Old Testament passage is referenced by Our Lord, here: Numbers 21:1-9, when the bronze serpent on the staff made by Moses brought healing to those who looked upon it. Pope Benedict XVI comments on this passage in a homily (see link below). He says, “St. John sees precisely in the mystery of the cross the moment in which the real glory of Jesus is revealed, the glory of a love that gives itself totally in the Passion and death. Thus, paradoxically, from a sign of condemnation, death, and failure, the cross becomes a sign of redemption, life, and victory, through faith, the fruits of salvation can be gathered.” Perhaps in prayer, we can pause and invite this same Holy Spirit to enlighten in our own hearts where we need the Lord to be lifted up, on his glorious cross, over the struggles, sufferings, and doubts in our hearts today.
The Holy Spirit Gives Eternal Life: “The Lord, the Giver of Life,” we pray in the Nicene Creed. This is also the title that St. John Paul II gave to his encyclical letter on the Holy Spirit, for it is for this purpose that the Spirit has come: to give us eternal life. The Lord has won this life for us through his suffering, death, and resurrection. Let us be neither surprised nor afraid when salvation is lived out in our individual stories through a sharing in Christ’s suffering, death, and promise of Resurrection. May we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit’s whispers throughout our life’s journey.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you promise eternal life to your followers, to be lifted up, for our sake, and to draw all things to yourself. Draw me to yourself, Lord, even if the ladder up to your heart is a cross. Teach me to listen to your Spirit and to respond to you, step by step, in faith, hope, and love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to be attentive to the whispers of your Holy Spirit. At the end of my day, I will pause and reflect upon where and how you have made yourself present.
For Further Reflection: You may wish to read over and pray with the homily of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI mentioned in this meditation.
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