Monday, April 20, 2009

Born of the Spirit

April 21, 2009

By Beth DeCristofaro

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of is possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. (Acts 4:32)

"'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:7-8)


“Prayer of Nicodemus” by Sarah M. Foulger

God of second chances, who is patient with our confusion and who leads us into greater understanding if only we have ears to hear and souls willing to search, grant that we may be born anew each day into hope, born anew each day into joy, born anew each day into your realm. When we become legalistic in our living, teach us the language of forgiveness. When we become concrete in our thinking, lift us into the ways of your Spirit. When we become stuck into religious patterns that lead us away from you, bring us back to living faith. May your grace become the context of our days. Amen.


Welcome! Babe Chicks from the Men’s 118th Cursillo. Welcome also to the men who attended Walk to Emmaus held in Kinston, OK, this weekend, including my brother, Alex. Born anew in the Spirit they are “reentering” the work and family world. During the weekend they were often in my thoughts as I considered how my Weekend in 2001 brought me a new Spirit: the tears of recognition during a guided meditation that introduced Jesus to my life in a new image; the putting to rights of sins forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; the delight in meeting other faith-filled women whose journeys gave me insight; the shared dread over sharing, in public, our new awareness of the breath which the Spirit had blown upon us – and the support of each other to accomplish that witness.

The readings since Easter have proclaimed again and again that Jesus, ascended, is yet with us and that he left the Spirit to guide, give courage and inspire us. We have this in common: The wind blows where it wills…so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." The Spirit is not always as many-colored and carnival-like as a Cursillo or Emmaus weekend. Nor is the movement of the Spirit always as profoundly moving as the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Can we recognize it? Can we bend with it and let it blow us as it will? Can we, like the flag whose colors are displayed by the blowing wind, display our colors to the glory of God by accepting the wind of the Spirit? Or do we struggle to stand firm in what we have always known, the cultural and socially acceptable, the safe? Do we resist the liberating Spirit which promises eternity rather than the “good life.”


Take the opportunity to discern the wind of the Spirit in recent personal events: the hustle-bustle, the sadness, the joys, the dryness, the successes and failures. The Spirit speaks of eternity writ in all God’s creation. Mother Theresa said: There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” It isn’t just life, it is God’s life.

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