a Reflection by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
"I am in my Father, and you are in me and I in you" (Jn. 14:20)
"If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him." (Jn. 14:14-21)
For the last few days, the Scripture (in Italics above) has been on my mind. We carry Him in our souls, that is those who know Him. Those who do not know Him would not recognize His presence within. How blessed we are, to have Jesus within us, and to be with Jesus in Him. In a previous Franciscan Reflection "Heaven is not a location in the cosmos, but a place within God" (Benedict XVI) (#531), something the Holy Father said on August 15, 2010, started me thinking and looking up Scriptures again. "Thou hast made us for Thyself (O God) and our heart is troubled till it rests in Thee." (St. Augustine). One can discuss and argue this point if St. Augustine really meant to rest within God, but my thinking over the past couple of days leads me to believe it just as he said, and also as Jesus said it, as written in John 14.
I am a strong believer in the Holy Spirit being the teacher, the Advocate who the Father has sent among us, to help us understand what the world will not accept, because some people just cannot seem to believe something unseen and not well understood. Have Faith and believe the Good Word of our Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus speaks to us all the time. Some who are aware of his quiet but determined and somewhat urgent voice, hear Him within themselves all the time, but those who cannot understand and therefore will not accept his personal message, need to be awakened by some miraculous event to even consider that He speaks to us at all. And then there are those poor unfortunates who in some way consider the voice they hear as being evil. I agree that discernment must be exercised when interpreting anything spoken in our conscious or subconscious, but if you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal savior, who gave his life on the cross for you and everyone else, when you hear his voice, please harden not your hearts!
There is no question that the world is closer to the end than to the beginning. Some people expound on the end and what it will be like. That is totally counter-productive. No one knows when the end is near and so why break your head about it, there is nothing you can do about it anyhow. But there is so much that you can and should do. You should prepare as Jesus said so clearly: ... "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15) He didn't mean for us to wait 2000+ years, but for each of us to do it now. Because our lifespan isn't 2000 years, it is much, much shorter, and we should always be ready for the end, the end of our life on earth, so that we may be made ready for the life with Him, forever!
I was reading an older paperback, "Let the Fire Fall" by Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, a Franciscan priest who in the fall of 2009, celebrated his 50th Anniversary as a Franciscan friar. This event was celebrated with a party, the size of which was phenomenal, attended by Cardinals and Bishops and lots of interesting people. Fr. Mike, in 1974, became Dean of Franciscan University at Steubenville (Ohio), a post he held for 25 years during which the college became one of the most Catholic orthodox universities in the world. I have not been there but everyone who has gone from my parish raves about the system of teaching that makes Steubenville so unique. Fr. Michael listened to the Holy Spirit, as we should all do.
The "Holy Spirit" isn't a word or slogan used by charismatics or other enthusiastic Christians. No, the Holy Spirit is the love that exists between Father and Son, in the Holy Trinity, and we are invited to be a part of that community. Yes, the Trinity, and each of us is a community, of prayer and love. Franciscans strongly believe in and depend on the Holy Spirit, without whole help they would find it very difficult to obey the Rule of Saint Francis in their lives. May the Lord give you peace and great joy! Please thank Him for all He has and continues to give us every single day!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS (2010, 2018)
Fred, a professed Secular Franciscan, has been writing spiritual reflections for well over 30 years. He’s been a monk for 5 years, and a Secular Franciscan for 24 years. In addition to making his Franciscan promises, he has made private vows of Obedience and Chastity and lives a quiet and frugal life as a lay person and Roman Catholic.
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Five Franciscan Martyrs