A Reflection by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Original title: "Holy Spirit reveals deep things of God"
and: "We Bring Forth Christ in Faith" (below)
"Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him. Yet God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Spirit. The Spirit scrutinizes all matters, even the deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:9b-10)
What God has in store for those who believe in Him, comes to us by listening to the Holy Spirit. Without the assistance of the Holy Spirit we could not learn some of God's Gift to us, the gift he gives us when we are baptized and when we partake in the Sacraments.
"The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you." (Jn. 14:26, USCCB NAB)
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' (Gal 4:6).
We call the Father "Abba" or "Daddy" as a child would call his father, this is a very special relationship, it is a famillial relationship (nothing formal about it). This is a gift of God to us.
743 From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable.
So God gives us his Spirit so that we can understand what his visiting to us is all about.
744 In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" (Mt 1:23).
Mary is an integral part of God's family, and thus our Mother. Let us always include her in our prayers and conversations with God by the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to understand these relationships in the spiritual sense.
745 The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf. Ps 2:6-7).
This again indicates that without the Holy Spirit, we could not understand what happened at his incarnation.
746 By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf. Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.
At Pentecost, Our Lord made us understand what his Death and Resurrection truly accomplished, namely the salvation of people. If we continue to love God by not committing sin (through the help of the Holy Spirit) we will be with Him in Paradise.
747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.
Now that we have given to understand the role of the Holy Spirit, we can understand that one of our duties is to Evangelize, that is, to tell all people about God's love for us. I use the internet to accomplish that, others use the podium or a street corner, still others talk to people individually or have some Apostolate connected with their parish - no matter which way, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, none of this would accomplish the right result.
So always be open to the groanings of the Holy Spirit, to those still words of wisdom, He makes known to us from time to time. Listen to Him, for the guidance of God, the love of the Holy Spirit, calls us constantly forth to love Him more and more.
Peace and all Good!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
June 9, 2011, rev. 2018
We Bring Forth Christ in Faith
The Second Reading of the Office of Readings, which I read/pray once in a while, had a beautiful Reflection or Homily this morning, by St. Ambrose. The last paragraph impressed me in particular: "Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. In another place we read: Magnify the Lord with me. The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God, and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted."
St. Ambrose who lived from 374 to 397; born probably 340, was born in France. He was one of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and his homilies and writings are well known and respected. He was Bishop of Milan. He is one of the original four doctors of the Church, with St. Augustine, St. Jerome and St. Gregory the Great.
The subject of this morning's Second Reading is of course, Mary, the Blessed Mother, as she visits her sister, Elizabeth, who is also with child (John the Baptist). That, in itself, is remarkable because Elizabeth wasn't any longer of child-bearing age. Central to the Mariology of St. Ambrose is the Virginity of Mary and her role as the Mother of God.
The quoted paragraph in italics, above, is remarkable also. St. Ambrose tells us that we need Mary's assistance in order to proclaim the Word and tell of the greatness of God. He says that the Lord is magnified, despite our efforts to shout out his Name, by those who live a holy and chaste life, "Christ is the image of God, and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted." God bless St. Ambrose for making that so clear!
How does this translate to us, to modern times? We (Christians, in particular) need to be strong. We need to love God at all times, when you love God, you do not sin. (But when you still sin, you do not love God enough!). There is really no compromise possible between leading a chaste life or not. We cannot chose part of God's command and wish for us to be chaste, and lead a loose life at the same time. People whose morals are questionable and whose habits are undisciplined just aren't living a chaste life. The easiest way to live a chaste life is to say NO to sin. Don't tell me you are too weak to do that (yes, I know all people have a weakness for what they shouldn't do. I do too.) - it is only when living a chaste life, without detours or exceptions, that you will have an unclouded view of God's love and goodness. If I hear one more time what some people say (usually rather flippantly) "That's why we have the confessional," I think I will have a fit! Even that is used as an excuse! So read up on the writings of St. Ambrose and the other Fathers of the early Church, they have a lot of valuable stuff to say! What they said isn't so different from what the current Holy Father, his Bishops and Priests/Deacons are saying these days - nothing has changed, for God remains the same! Let us pray to His Mother, who is also our Mother, for strength and understanding to learn more about her Holy Son, whose birth we will soon remember on Christmas Day.
Peace and Good!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
December 21, 2011rev. 2018
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Officers as of 1/10/2016
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS