Theme:
Indwelling Spirit

Indwelling Spirit

Summary: Sunday, May 19—Friday, May 24, 2019

When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. (Sunday)

I believe all of history has been the age of the Spirit. Creation just keeps unfolding. (Monday)

The Holy Spirit shows up as the central and healing power of absolute newness and healing in our relationship with everything else. (Tuesday)

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to reveal to us the truth of our being so that the way of our being can match it. —Wm. Paul Young (Wednesday)

We continually experience the Holy Spirit as both a divine counterpart to whom we call, and a divine presence in which we call—as the space we live in. —Jürgen Moltmann (Thursday)

The goal of the spiritual life is to allow the Spirit of Christ to influence all our activity, prayer as well as service. Our role in this process is to provide conditions in our lives to enable us to live in tune with [Christ’s] Spirit. —Richard Hauser (Friday)

 

Practice: Litany of the Holy Spirit
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter and Helper to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth. . . . You know this Spirit, for it abides with you and will be in you. —John 14:16-17

Many years ago, during a hermitage stay in Arizona, I had a particularly strong sense of the Holy Spirit, the One who is fully available to all of us “if we but knew the gift of God” (John 4:10). I slowly composed this prayer litany—imagining many names and movements of the Spirit—to awaken and strengthen this Presence within us.

Pure Gift of God
Indwelling Presence
Promise of the Father
Life of Jesus
Pledge and Guarantee
Defense Attorney
Inner Anointing
Homing Device
Stable Witness
Peacemaker
Always Already Awareness
Compassionate Observer
God Compass
Inner Breath
Mutual Yearning
Hidden Love of God
Implanted Hope
Seething Desire
Fire of Life and Love
Truth Speaker
Flowing Stream
Wind of Change
Descending Dove
Cloud of Unknowing
Uncreated Grace
Filled Emptiness
Deepest Level of Our Longing
Sacred Wounding
Holy Healing
Will of God
Great Compassion
Inherent Victory

You who pray in us, through us, with us, for us, and in spite of us.
Amen, Alleluia!

What names for the divine Comforter and Helper would you add? What would it feel like to receive the gift of this intimate companionship?

References:
Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009), 168-169.

For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr, Wm. Paul Young, Trinity: The Soul of Creation (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), MP4 download.

Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit: A Guide to Today’s Spirituality (Beacon Publishing: 2011)

Jürgen Moltmann, The Source of Life (Fortress Press: 1997)

Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016)

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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Indwelling Spirit

Living in the Spirit
Friday, May 24, 2019

In very real ways, soul, consciousness, love, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Each of these point to something that is larger than the individual, shared with God, ubiquitous, and even eternal—and then revealed through us! Holiness does not mean people are psychologically or morally perfect (a common confusion), but that they are capable of seeing and enjoying things in a much more “whole” and compassionate way, even if they sometimes fail at it themselves. [1]

Today I share again from the late Jesuit priest and professor Richard Hauser:

The goal of the spiritual life is to allow the Spirit of Christ to influence all our activity, prayer as well as service. Our role in this process is to provide conditions in our lives to enable us to live in tune with [Christ’s] Spirit. Our effort is not a self-conscious striving to fill ourselves with the important Christian virtues; it is more getting out of the way and allowing [Christ’s] Spirit to transform all our activities. Christ will do the rest. His Spirit has joined ours and will never abandon us.

Gradually we become more and more sensitive to the movements of Christ’s Spirit in our own hearts; simultaneously we grow in sensitivity to the movement of his Spirit in others. Subtly our vision of the world changes. We begin seeing everything in relationship to Christ and the Father, and so we carry on a continual dialog with them. Without really trying, we find ourselves fulfilling Paul’s injunction to the Ephesians to “pray always.” It becomes clearer and clearer what Paul was trying to express when he exclaimed to the Galatians that “I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Before his conversion, [Paul] had not known this power. Now the reality of the new life he had received through the Spirit of Christ so overwhelmed him that it seemed as though everything he treasured flowed from this life, as, indeed, it did. He can only pray for his people that they may receive this same life from the Spirit and so know Christ and his love. [2]

Read Paul’s beautiful prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21:

That is why I kneel before Abba God, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. And I pray that God, out of the riches of divine glory, will strengthen you inwardly with power through the working of the Spirit. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, will be able to grasp fully the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ’s love and, with all God’s holy ones, experience this love that surpasses all understanding, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. To God—whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine—to God be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, world without end! Amen.

References:
[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (CAC Publishing: 2017), 47.

[2] Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit: A Guide to Today’s Spirituality (Beacon Publishing: 2011), 133-134.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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Indwelling Spirit

God Outpouring
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Effortlessly,
Love flows from God into [humans]
Like a bird
Who rivers the air
Without moving her wings.
. . . Thus we move in [God’s] world
One in body and soul, . . .
Though outwardly separate in form.
As the Source strikes the note,
Humanity sings—
The Holy Spirit is our harpist,
And all strings
Which are touched in Love
Must sound.
—Mechthild of Magdeburg (1207–c. 1282/1294) [1]

Protestant theologian Jürgen Moltmann grew up in a secular home in Hamburg, Germany, and was drafted into the German army at age eighteen to fight in World War II. As a prisoner of war, he began reading the Bible and encountered God in the midst of suffering. Moltmann’s theology is hopeful and practical. Here are some of his thoughts on the Spirit:

We continually experience the Holy Spirit as both a divine counterpart to whom we call, and a divine presence in which we call—as the space we live in. There is nothing extraordinary about this. As children we experienced our mothers as both too—as a presence surrounding us and a counterpart calling us. The response to the plea for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit’s coming and remaining, its outpouring and its indwelling. . . .

The astonishing thing is that here the Holy Spirit is seen not just as a divine Person but as a divine element too. The Spirit is “sent” and “comes” like a tempest; it spreads itself out over all living things, like the waters of a flood, pervading everything. If the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit and the special presence of God, then when God’s Spirit is poured out, “all flesh” will be deified. All mortal flesh will be filled with the eternal life of God, for what comes from God is divine and eternal like God. . . .

In “the outpouring of God’s Spirit,” God opens [God’s self] and becomes what the mystic and poet Mechthild of Magdeburg calls “the outpouring and flowing Godhead.” In the source, the river and the lake, the quality of water is the same, but its flow is graduated. The transition from the Spirit itself to the Spirit’s many different energies . . . is as fluid as an emanation. The divine becomes the all-embracing presence in which what is human—indeed everything that lives—can develop fruitfully and live eternally.

References:
[1] Mechthild of Magdeburg, “Effortlessly, / Love flows from God into man,” Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, ed. Jane Hirshfield (Harper Perennial: 1995), 93. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Jürgen Moltmann, The Source of Life (Fortress Press: 1997), 11.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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Indwelling Spirit

A Constant Grace
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to reveal to us the truth of our being so that the way of our being can match it. —Wm. Paul Young [1]

The love in you—which is the Spirit in you—always somehow says yes. (See 2 Corinthians 1:20.) Love is not something you do; love is something you are. It is your True Self. Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can buy. It’s not something you can attain. It’s the presence of God within you, called the Holy Spirit or what some theologians name uncreated grace.

You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct, dear reader. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now. You can go to church every day for the rest of your life. God isn’t going to love you any more than God loves you right now.

You cannot make God love you any less, either—not an ounce less. Do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you less. You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant, total, and 100 percent toward your life. God is for you.

We can’t diminish God’s love for us. What we can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, trust it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c. 1090–1153) wrote, “Inasmuch as the soul becomes unlike God, so it becomes unlike itself.” [2] Bernard has, of course, come to the same thing I’m trying to say here: the pattern within the Trinity is the same as the pattern in all creation. And when you return to this same pattern, the flow will be identical.

Catherine LaCugna (1952–1997) ended her giant theological tome God for Us with this one simple sentence:

The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on this earth. [3]

That’s God’s job description. That’s what it’s all about. And the only thing that can keep you out of this divine dance is fear or self-hatred. What would happen in your life—right now—if you fully accepted what God has created?

Suddenly, this is a very safe universe. You have nothing to be afraid of. God is for you. God is leaping toward you! God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own.

References:
[1] Wm. Paul Young, Trinity: The Soul of Creation, session 7 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), MP4 download.

[2] Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the Song of Songs, 82.5. This translation is from William Harmless, Mystics, (Oxford University Press: 2008), 55.

[3] Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (HarperSanFrancisco: 1993), 411.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 193-194.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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Indwelling Spirit

Loving Relationship
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The highest expression of the spirit is the one that opens us to the Great Other, in love and trust. It establishes a dialogue with God, listens from the conscience to God’s call, and delivers us trustingly into the palm of God’s hand. This communion can be so intense, say the mystics of every tradition, that the soul of the beloved is fused with the Lover in an experience of nonduality; by grace we participate in God’s very being. Here the human spirit is touching the hem of the Holy Spirit’s garment. —Leonardo Boff [1]

The Holy Spirit is the love relationship between the Father and the Son. It is this relationship itself that is gratuitously given to us! Or better, we are included inside this universal love. This is salvation in one wonderful snapshot.

Jesuit Richard Hauser (1937–2018), who focused much of his teaching and writing on the Holy Spirit, saw that the indwelling Spirit leads to union and love:

This love has as its object God, as well as other people. Christian theological tradition has most often seen the Holy Spirit in the Trinity as the bond of love between the Father and the Son. . . . The primary effect of the Spirit acting in people . . . will be love, both for one another and for God. . . .

God’s Spirit joins our spirit; it does not replace it. The good acts we perform are truly our acts, not simply acts of the Holy Spirit in us. The deepest part of the self is the spiritual dimension. From the center flows all our freedom and love; at this level we remain free to choose to move or not to move with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is indeed active in us at all times drawing us toward greater love and service of God and others, but the Spirit does not control our response. That flows from our freedom. [2]

This loving relationship shows itself in myriad forms, such as the endless diversity of insects and wildflowers, culture and art, medicine and science. Each manifestation expresses God’s endless desire to create new forms of life and externalized love. All things good, true, and beautiful are already baptized in the one, same Spirit. (Read Ephesians 4:4-7 anew!)

The Holy Spirit shows up as the central and healing power of absolute newness and healing in our relationship with everything else. Anglican mystic Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941) defined mysticism as “the art of union with Reality.” [3] The Spirit is the artist painting this union through us!

The Spirit’s work is helping us stay in relationship and building connection. The Spirit warms, softens, mends, and renews all the broken, cold places in and between things. Invisible but powerful, willing to be anonymous, the Spirit does not care who gets the credit for the wind from nowhere, the living water that we take for granted, or the bush that always burns and is never consumed.

References:
[1] Leonardo Boff, Come Holy Spirit (Orbis Books: 2015), 42.

[2] Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit (Beacon Publishing:  2011), 37, 38.

[3] Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People (E. P. Dutton & Company: 1915), 3.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 186-187.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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Indwelling Spirit

The Age of Spirit
Monday, May 20, 2019

The Holy Spirit is sent to the entire universe and since creation has been transforming [the universe], carrying it toward the final resurrection. . . . The same Spirit renews humanity. . . . This new humanity must move all nations, each in accordance with its diversity. The Spirit unites without imposing uniformity. —José Comblin [1]

From medieval times to the Great Awakening and other periods of religious revival, Christians have eagerly anticipated an age of the Spirit. But I believe all of history has been the age of the Spirit. Creation just keeps unfolding (see Romans 8:19-25). The evolution of stars, species, and consciousness has never stopped since the very beginning. In fact, we now know that the universe is still expanding. But our hierarchical, masculine-without-feminine, and static notion of God did not allow many to see this.

History keeps moving forward with ever-new creativity. Admittedly, this movement is accompanied by much push back. Just look at what’s happened in the last century! The immense advances in consciousness, science, technology, and awareness are astounding, despite all the horrible wars and injustice, both personal and systemic. While I don’t want to diminish how much we still have to do to create an equitable world, it’s become almost impossible for privileged folks to deny the ongoing marginalization of people of color, gender diverse individuals, the poor, and those with disabilities.

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann (b. 1926) writes:

In the experience of the Spirit a new community of rich and poor, the educated and the uneducated comes into being. The Spirit of God is no respecter of social distinctions; it puts an end to them. All Spirit-impelled revival movements in the history of Christianity have taken note of these social revolutionary elements in the experience of the Spirit and have spread them. They became a danger to the patriarchy, the men’s church and the slave-owners. [2]

The Holy Spirit never gives up on us. Scripture’s arc reveals the salvation of history and all creation, and not merely of individuals. Divine covenants are with the people collectively—the “house” and the future. Individuals like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, and Esther are only the instruments and the mediators. Each individual is caught up in the salvific sweep of history, almost in spite of herself or himself, as YHWH shows mercy to Israel and their descendants forever (see, for example, Genesis 13:15; Exodus 32:13).

The Spirit is like a homing device put inside of us, and all creation, too. For all of our ignorance and mistakes, there is in everything this deep, internal dignity convinced of its own value. This divine indwelling keeps insisting, “I am what I am seeking!” This is surely what Jesus means when he says that all true prayers are already assured of their answer (see Matthew 7:7-8 and 1 John 5:14-15).

It’s God in you that loves God; it’s God through you that recognizes God elsewhere; it’s God for you that assures you that you are finally and forever okay.  This is Trinitarian spirituality, which buttresses you on every side. This is what it means to live inside the Trinitarian flow. And it is all now, and not just later. You are already home free!

References:
[1] José Comblin, The Holy Spirit and Liberation (Wipf & Stock Publishers: 1989), 75.

[2] Jürgen Moltmann, The Source of Life (Fortress Press: 1997), 23.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 146-147, 150-151.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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Indwelling Spirit

Implanted Hope
Sunday, May 19, 2019

God for us, we call you Father.
God alongside us, we call you Jesus.
God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.
You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,
Even us and even me.
Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.
We can only see who you are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing—
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
Amen.

In the Divine Spirit—God within us, already promised, often with different words, by the Hebrew prophets, as in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Isaiah 11:2—God takes on an indwelling character. The unnamable I AM becomes writ large on our hearts, revealing the “down and in” divine characteristic present since the beginning of time. Let’s call the Holy Spirit Implanted Hope.

Theologian Jack Levison points out that there are many meanings for the Hebrew word ruach and the Greek pneuma: “The original Hebrew and Greek words for ‘spirit’ were used to convey concepts as diverse as a breath, a breeze, a powerful gale, an angel, a demon, the heart and soul of a human being, and the divine presence itself.” [1] For me, what seems most significant is that Spirit is the divine indwelling in creation. As God promises Ezekiel, “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.” (See Ezekiel 37:9-14.)

Without God as Holy Spirit, there’s no inner momentum, élan vital, or aliveness to heal our wounds. When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. As in Ezekiel’s vision, the water flows from ankles to knees to waist to neck as the New Earth is hydrated. (See Ezekiel 47:1-12.) Like Pinocchio, we move from wooden to real. We transform from hurt people hurting other people to wounded healers healing others. Not just as individuals but as shapers of history that keeps moving forward through the Spirit’s power.

The Indwelling Spirit is this ability of humanity to keep going, to keep recovering from its wounds, to keep hoping. One thing we love so much about young children is their indomitable hope, curiosity, and desire to grow. They fall down, and soon they’re all grins again. Another generation is going to try again to live life to the fullest. But all too often, by the time they’re sixty they don’t smile so much, and we ask, “What happened between six and sixty?” I see it as loss of Spirit, because if you trust that the Holy Spirit is alive within you, you will keep on, despite every setback.

References:
[1] Jack Levison, Fresh Air (Paraclete Press: 2012), 13-14.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 144-147.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr
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