PHOTO BY FERNANDO DE GOROCICA, CREATIVE COMMONS

Spiritual Life

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION: The power of the Holy Spirit transforms us

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and to the ends of all the earth” (Acts, 1:8).

These are the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples before he ascended into the clouds from their sight. They contain a truth and a power that will transform the minds and hearts of the apostles carrying them out on mission to wherever the Holy Spirit sends them. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they won’t just preach the Good News – they will become the Good News.

This is the destiny of every Christian. We are meant to be so transformed by the Gospel message that our very lives become the testimony others need in order to believe in and become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we, like the apostles, can receive the courage we need to boldly speak to others about God’s love for them. Through this Advocate of love, we can come to better recognize and understand the truth of our identity as one who has been sent. We too have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to take his message of love out into the world.

The apostles distinguished themselves from the culture around them by their love of Christ. They took to heart his command to love one another with the same love with which he had loved them. Our call is no different. This is what it means to follow Jesus and be his disciple. It means our lives are so transformed by God’s love for us that we naturally and even intentionally love those around us.

The infilling of the Holy Spirit leads us closer to Jesus Christ. This Gift enables us to encounter the world through Jesus’ mandate to love. We, like the apostles, can be conformed to Jesus not just through our fulfilling his command to love but through our spiritual participation in his suffering, death and resurrection as well. This type of participation is what makes us like him. This type of participation means we allow him to continue his mission of redemption through us, with us and in us. It means that we allow him to continue to love the world through our humanity.

When we are immersed in this divine love we are filled with the power of the Cross and become agents of mercy. Indeed, this is our vocation. We are meant to become love. We are meant to find our identity in the love and mercy of Christ and then help others do the same. The transformative power of God’s mercy is the underlying theme of the Scriptures for the Easter season. It begins with the Last Supper, continues with the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus and culminates with his ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit.

How well are you implementing the Lord’s command? Are you becoming love or at least working toward it? Do not lose heart if you struggle with this call of Jesus. He does not expect you to accomplish it on your own. He intends to partner with you if you allow him to do so. Simply ask for his help. Tell him you love him and ask him to increase his love for you. He will do the rest.

Father Walter Nolte is pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Fremont, St. Lawrence Parish in Scribner and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Hooper, and president of Archbishop Bergan Catholic Schools in Fremont.