Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I need more!

We are always looking for something a little more exciting, a little more stimulating.  As a young man I put that into action when it came to church.   I went around looking for worship that was a little more upbeat.   A little more loud.   From stage band worship to Pentecostal shouting, I kept going to find that next mountain top experience.  Wherever I was, regardless of the quality of the music, or the eloquence of the preacher... it wasn't enough.   I needed more... because the one thing I was doing wrong was trying to find something for me in it.   I wasn't worshiping God because it was the right thing to do.  No I was trying to find my next experience, me... my.. I... ego.

In our search for the perfect experience we often forget exactly what we have been given.   The enormous gift of the Holy Spirit is too frequently ignored or placed in the back of our minds.   As Christians we do not believe the Spirit is just some sort of non-tangible, ethereal force that can be controlled with enough knowledge or somatic gestures.  The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity.  One we should have a relationship with.  One who as St. Paul eloquently puts it describes to us "spiritual realities in spiritual terms."  When our minds are so caught up in our own selves... that's what St. Paul calls the natural man... that's when we are unable to experience fully who God is.   It's in this ignoring of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God in us, that we completely miss the amazing gift we are endowed with!

In our daily lives we are bombarded with desires and emotions.  From the flooding of sexual images in the various media to the constant attack on the sanctity of marriage we are called to be worldly, natural people.   What God wants to give us though is a fuller existence, a more joyful reality that exists.   He wants to give us the life He created us for!   We are called to be Spiritual people, a living temple for God.  Just as Jesus commanded the demon in the Gospel to be quiet and come out of the man in the synagogue, He is calling out to those things which stand in our way of being who we truly are.   He is telling our addictions, our sorrows, our fears... "Be quiet!  Come out of my child!"  We have to let go of our self though and let Him work in us through the Holy Spirit we received at Baptism.

We do not need a better Parish.    The music whether excellent or sub-par is not why you are there.   The homily, while an important and beautiful part of the spiritual nourishment you receive, does not have to be the best or most powerful one.   The Priest does not have to be the kindest or most generous man alive, he alone is not who you are there for.   You are there for Christ.   Present in the Sacraments of the Holy Catholic church.   You're not going to find a different one the next town over... He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.    It's not about you, it's about Him!   That's why we go to Mass... to worship the most High God.   Not to get something out of it.   Now if there are problems in those other areas?   Do something about it instead of bickering and gossiping.   Join the choir.  Become a Lector.   Join the building and grounds committee.   Volunteer on the Pastoral Council so you can get to know the Priest.. but above all spend some time speaking and listening to the Holy Spirit in your prayer life... for it is through Him that we can "understand the things freely given us by God.

A Prayer for Today

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."

A reflection on the readings for Tuesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time.