Saturday, June 11, 2011

Encouragement Opens Us to the Holy Spirit

A reflection by Mother Maria Michael Newe, OSB.

“They had strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith saying, ‘It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.’”

(Acts 14:22)

In the Emmaus story we hear something similar when Christ says, “It was necessary for Christ to suffer.” We hear so often about the necessity of suffering; but we always go through suffering in order to come to the Resurrection. It can’t just end in death; suffering has to come to a rising, and that comes through encouragement. That beautiful word we sing all through the Easter season is, “Alleluia”. That ‘alleluia’ is the door to eternity. It gives the sense of looking far beyond what is just before us. And it teaches us. It’s a word of encouragement. You can’t say ‘alleluia’ without some sense of joy. It has to be joyful, a crying out to eternity. It is saying to the One who is to come, “I believe.”

Often in the spiritual life we feel like Christ has left us, yet He says, “I am going away, but I will come back to you.” These words of Christ give us confidence that it is normal in the spiritual life to feel like He is not there. We do not always feel like He is right before us because our faith needs to be tested. We have to encourage one another when we see the other in a moment of testing. We have to be Christ to one another. That is the assurance that He is with us always—not only in the Eucharist but also in one another. Be aware of the ways you can encourage one another. Today we celebrate the feast of St. Barnabas. Barnabas was called the son of encouragement. It was in that way that he opened the door greatly to the Holy Spirit

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