Tuesday, January 14, 2014

With the fire of the Spirit

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
January 19, 2014

John 1:29-34

The early Christian communities were concerned to differentiate well between the baptism of John who immersed people in the waters of the Jordan and the baptism of Jesus who communicated his Spirit to cleanse, renew and transform the hearts of his followers. Without the Spirit of Jesus, the Church fades and dies.

Only the Spirit of Jesus can bring more truth into Christianity today. Only his Spirit can lead us to recover our true identity, abandon roads that divert us again and again from the Gospel. Only that Spirit can give us light and strength to undertake the renewal that the Church needs today.

Pope Francis knows quite well that the biggest obstacle to starting a new evangelization phase is spiritual mediocrity. He says so flatly. He wants to encourage with all his strength a "more ardent, cheerful, generous, fearless" phase "full of love to the end, and contagious life". But it will all be insufficient, "if the fire of the Spirit doesn't burn in our hearts."

So he's looking for "evangelizers with Spirit" for the Church today who are fearlessly open to its action and find in that Holy Spirit of Jesus "the strength to proclaim the truth of the Gospel boldly, loudly and in all times and places, even against the current."

The renewal in Christianity today that the Pope wants to promote isn't possible "when the lack of a deep spirituality translates into pessimism, fatalism and mistrust," or when it leads us to believe that "nothing can change" and therefore "it is useless to strive," or when we throw in the towel definitively, "dominated by chronic discontent or an acedia which dries up the soul."

Francis warns that "sometimes we lose our enthusiasm on forgetting that the Gospel responds to the deepest needs of the people." However it's not like that. The Pope forcefully expresses his conviction: "it is not the same thing to have known Jesus as not to have known him, not the same thing to walk with him as to walk blindly, not the same thing to hear his word as not to know it...It is not the same thing to try to build the world with his Gospel as to try to do so by our own lights."

All this we are to discover from personal experience of Jesus. Otherwise, whoever doesn't discover him, "soon lacks strength and passion; and a person who isn't persuaded, excited, confident, in love, does not convince anyone." Might this not be one of the main obstacles to promoting the renewal desired by Pope Francis?

1 comment:

  1. "So he's looking for 'evangelizers with Spirit' for the Church today," a Church that is suffering, confused and divided, a Church that yearns for salvation and unity, a Church that prays to God and that receives God's answers and blessings from our sisters and brothers in, with and through Jesus our Brother and Lord. "Might this not be one of the main obstacles to promoting the renewal desired by Pope Francis?" Or might this be a narrow door, an opening for the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth?
    Paz y Bien,Rolando, OFS.