June 6, 2011

The Prayer of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Spirit

In Christ Jesus, humanity has been received into its heavenly homeland, the spiritual reality wherein it is finally free to thrive to the full.   This paradise is reserved for all those who persevere until the end in loving one another out of obedience to Christ.  In fact, loving God and one another here and now anticipates the life God has in store for those who believe.  Therese of Lisieux calls this living by love.  Such a life alone is commensurate with God's call to humanity.  For to love God with one's whole being and love one's neighbor as oneself - to be able to do this and never grow weary, to be constant with what is most noble in our humanity towards all that is good and holy - this is what it means to thrive as a human being, it is what we were made to be.  This is the divine image revealed in us - and in heaven that image shines in the perfect likeness of the One who has gone before us.

Whoever has endeavored this, that is, whoever has endeavored to really love unto the end, such a person has in one way or another tasted something of heaven.  Such a person knows deep inside the greatness for which we are made.  At the same time, everyone who strives to live by love knows that it is impossible without help from above.

That we might realize our true calling, Jesus ascended into heaven and makes intercession for us - his love which has no end is poured out before the heavenly Father on our behalf.  Jesus constantly pours out his heart to the Father that we might receive this the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The Father never ceases to answer the prayer of His Son by sending the Holy Spirit always anew into the hearts of those who ask in faith.

True prayer, mature Christian prayer, the kind by which we can live by love, is produced in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Gift promised to us by Christ before He ascended into our heavenly homeland, the Holy Spirit is the animating principle of the Christian life, the Soul of the Christian soul.    The Divine Counselor is come upon us and envelops us with all the wisdom we need to love those entrusted to us, to be faithful in our love for the Lord.  In Him, possibilities present themselves in prayer we could have never imagined existed.  We may fail and fall short, accused in a thousand ways of our weakness: this Advocate testifies to the power of God at work in our frail humanity.  The Creator Spirit ushers us into our true homeland and establishes us into communion with the Holy Trinity - in this life we have Life itself, Life to live life to the full, to live by love.