Monday, April 20, 2015

Receive My Spirit

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

By Melanie Rigney

As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep. Now Saul was consenting to his execution.  (Acts 7:59-60, 8:1a)

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (Psalm 31:6a)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35)

Lord, give me the faith to trust You in all things.

Recently, I spent time with someone I consider a special friend, though we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. I remarked that it had been almost ten years since we met; she was involved in ministry to those exploring a return to Catholicism, I was giving the faith of my childhood another chance since nothing in my life was working at the time.

My friend laughed. “And look at us now,” she said. “Who besides God would have thought we’d be here?” “Here” was the Bible study group at her parish, a group of people who helped pray her through her mother’s death, a successful fight with cancer, and her preparations to become a hospice chaplain. “Here” for me that day was speaking to the Bible study group about women saints, most of whom I’d never heard of when my friend and I met. It was the first day I said out loud that sharing these women’s stories and how they inform our faith journeys today I see not only as a privilege but also as a spiritual charism. Indeed, God has a sense of humor.

I thought of this exchange as I read today’s first reading from Acts. When their paths crossed, Stephen likely was familiar with persecution, but could not have known he would become the first Christian martyr. Saul, the persecutor of Christians, likely would have scoffed if you’d told him he would end up a martyr to the faith as well.

In small ways and big ways, we do ourselves a disservice when we try to imagine the path ahead. It might be better than we could ever hope for… or, it may hold challenges we are unequipped to handle today. Better, then, to let that sort of anxiety and fruitless worrying die… and to commend our spirits to the Lord.

Attempt to go the entire day without saying “I wish,” “I wonder,” “I worry,” or “I hope.” Commend the spirit.

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