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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
April 29, 2007
Living in the Spirit

    This week is nearly the half way mark of the Easter Season.  This season lasts for 50 days and ends with the great feast of Pentecost.  Although Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the Church, except for a few churches who are more charismatic, the feast is not often given proper acclaim.  There are, of course, many ways to celebrate Pentecost.  The more important point is to come to a fuller understanding of the feast itself. With this in mind, we will take the next few weeks to delve into the meaning of Living in the Spirit, something we should all be doing as Catholic Christians.

    Living our life in and through the Spirit of God is another way of saying that we live a spiritual life.  No doubt you have heard of the overused term Spirituality. It is often misused by people who falsely believe that Spirituality is an option which allows them to believe in God without all the trappings of Religion.  You may have heard people say that they are not religious but they are spiritual.  The falsity of this  notion lies in the fact that these two terms are not mutually exclusive.  People who are religious, i.e., belong to an organized religion such as Catholicism, can and  should also be spiritual.  This is not an option.  It is a necessity to good spiritual health.  It is vital to our relationship with God.  We cannot “live” without a sound spiritual life.  Without it we “die”. 

    What then, are some elements of spirituality that must be at the forefront of our Christian lives?  Another way of asking this question is: What are some of the ways that we can live our life in the Spirit of God?  What are those attitudes, beliefs, practices which animate our lives and help us to reach out towards the realities in our lives?  There are several.  Some of the Christian ways of living in the Spirit include having an intimate relationship with God through prayer.  This is a vast area to explore.  Other aspects of spirituality include living a life for others through service, taking an active role in Justice issues such as defending the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.  And, of course, it includes living our moral life in the spirit (not the letter)of the law.

    Unfortunately, spirituality in the Catholic Church has long been focused on Religious Congregations.  Each community such as the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, etc. have a well defined spirituality.  The problem with this focus is that it has left the laity behind.  This problem was recognized during the discussions of the 2nd Vatican Council.  Since that time, the focus of the spiritual life has taken on a wider scope.  The need for a lay spirituality is vital to all believers.  We all need to live our lives in the spirit.  We are not all called to live a life in a religious order nor do we all have the time to or the desire to belong to a third order.  This does not give us license to neglect our life in God however.  Living our life in the spirit is not an option.  

    Over the next few weeks leading up to the feast of Pentecost, we will focus on various aspects of lay spirituality.  We will examine possible paths to follow such as where the Spirit wishes to lead.  For this, we must be open to the Spirit.  We must open our shutters and allow the Spirit to come into our lives.  The Spirit will blow where it pleases.  It will come to us as it pleases, not necessarily as we please.
                            Lorette P. Nault