The Spirit that is Within You

Image: ©Kevin Carden/Goodsalt.com

We have a very wow-worthy faith. There are so many truths of our faith that move our hearts and minds with endless awe and wonder. One of these awe-some truths that the Church presents us with during the Easter Season is given in Romans 8:11- “The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.” This is amazing!! “The baptized Christian is not only ‘in the Spirit,’ but the Spirit is now said to dwell in him or her” (Brown, 835). Through our Baptism and our Confirmation, THE VERY SAME Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, dwells in you!

If this is the case, and we know that it is, what does it mean for our lives?

One thing it means is that we don’t have to stay locked in the tomb of hopeless, despair, insecurity, or fear. St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, then we are free to live a resurrected life, a life in the Spirit and by the Spirit. We are no longer slaves to fear. We are free to be fools for Christ, to follow the promptings of this Spirit within us in every moment and in every situation. Our self-confidence is not based on our own strength or ability, but on the power of the Risen Christ and of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

I had a wonderful experience of this new life in the Spirit as I was traveling back from the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee two years ago. The Healing Center staff gave us what they called the “airport challenge.” They challenged us to be prayerfully resting in the Lord, secure in our identity as beloved sons of God, and to ask the Holy Spirit for opportunities to pray with people in the airport or on the plane. This is such an awesome way to live into this freedom of the Spirit because this kind of thing runs completely against the typical airport and airplane culture of keeping your head down, not making eye contact, and not intruding on anyone’s space.

As I took a seat in the terminal—again, resting securely in the Lord, calmly asking the Holy Spirit to guide me—I noticed that the woman sitting next to me looked sad. So, I struck up a conversation with her, and after a while I simply asked her if there was anything that I could pray for, for her. She looked me in the eyes, and just started crying. She told me that her husband of many years had died just a few months ago, and that she had just recently sold the house in which they had raised all of their kids. She was now traveling around to the various states where her adult children lived, trying to figure out what she should do next with her life. I asked her if I could place my hand on her shoulder, and I prayed for her out loud. After the prayer, she mentioned that a song that had been bringing her much consolation and peace during this time of grief was the song “Amazing Grace.” So, I sang the whole song for her, right there in front of everyone in the airport. She closed her eyes, and she allowed the Lord to touch and soothe her pain through my singing. Before we parted ways, she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and simply said, “Jesus sent you to me.”

That woman didn’t know that I was a seminarian; she didn’t even know that I was Catholic. She just knew that a companion of Christ was with her, that Christ Himself saw her and sent one of His friends to visit her in her pain. This is what life in the Spirit of the Risen Christ looks like. This is the kind of life that I want to live as a baptized and Confirmed Catholic, and as a future deacon and priest. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us. If we live by that Spirit, we can move about freely in this world, free of all insecurity and fear, and we can allow the Lord to work through us to bring Him to His people.

Whenever anything gets in the way of the wow-worthy reality of your Christian life, renounce the lies and barriers in Jesus’ name, and announce the truth of who God is and who you are in Him. Step out in faith like I did in the airport and live in the awe-some truth that the Spirit dwells in you.

Come, Holy Spirit. Stir into flame your Spirit that is within us! Amen.

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