by Fr. James Tarantino
Daily life is filled with so many choices. Our eyes and ears are constantly being bombarded with all of the enticements this world offers. Yet, these enticements do not seem to satisfy the human heart. It has been said that our souls are still restless despite all of our achievements.
St. Paul teaches us that the true satisfaction of our hearts can only be achieved by living in the Spirit. He tells us that, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." While many people seek these qualities of life daily, they can only be achieved as a byproduct of a way of life that is more fundamental. St. Paul tells us, "If we live in the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit." Thus, by following the Spirit, the believer will experience the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, what does it mean to follow the Spirit?
We are told in John's Gospel that when, "he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth." The "truth" to which the Spirit guides us is that God has sent His only Son, who died for us, rose for us and ascended for us so that we might have life in Him. As believers, we are charged by Jesus to bring this truth to everyone in the world. It is the responsibility of every believer in the Church to help others understand and reconcile their lives to the fact that "Jesus is Lord."
Sadly, for too many in our world, everything else BUT Jesus is "lord." And yet, everyone seems to be looking for the "fruit of the Spirit" without any attachment to Jesus. Obviously, this is one of those situations when you cannot have "your cake and eat it too." Jesus tells us, "As scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me." This truth, that "Jesus is Lord," must be part of the real fabric of our every day life. At the top of our prayer list should be our intention to ask God for the grace of the Holy Spirit to live each day rooted in Christ. Scripture says that the Holy Spirit, "comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought..." "To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit." The "benefit" is in bringing the "Good News" of Jesus Christ to a hungry and wanting world. The true believer in Christ realizes that one's life must have more to do with fulfilling the mandate of Jesus than fulfilling one's own desires. If you allow your life to be "guided by the Spirit," then others will see in you and through you the power of the Spirit at work, which will guide them to Christ.
Jesus said to his Apostles ("apostle" means "one sent"), "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." We are mandated by God to live each day as one who has been "sent" to bring God's truth to the world at large. I ask you to pray with me for the grace of acceptance and courage to take responsibility for the love of God that we have received and are meant to share.
So, I urge you to live by the Spirit – in the Spirit – in the name of Jesus Christ for your own sake and for the sake of all!