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March 27, 2008
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January 15: Memorial of Paul the First Hermit
"Saint Antony, after two days and a night spent in the search, discovered the saint's [Paul's] abode... Having long begged admittance at the door of his cell, Saint Paul at last opened it with a smile: they embraced, called each other by their names, which they knew by divine revelation. Saint Paul then inquired whether idolatry still reigned in the world. While they were discoursing together, a raven flew towards them, and dropped a loaf of bread before them. Upon which Saint Paul said, 'Our good God has sent us a dinner. In this manner have I received half a loaf every day these sixty years past; now you are come to see me, Christ has doubled his provision for his servants.'" [Catholic-Forum]

January 17: Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot
"He instructed his monks to have eternity always present to their minds, and to reflect every morning that perhaps they might not live till night, and every evening that perhaps they might never see the morning; and to perform every action as if it were the last of their lives, with all the fervour of their souls to please God." [CIN]

January 21: Memorial of St. Agnes
"St. Austin observes that her name [Agnes] signifies chaste in Greek, and a lamb in Latin. She has always been looked upon in the church as a special patroness of purity, with the Immaculate Mother of God and St. Thecla." [CIN]

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THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME

When the Father intervenes with his Spirit, chaos is transformed into cosmos, the world comes alive and history is set in motion.

The Gospel for Sunday, January21, 2007
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke: 1:1-4, 4-14-21

How... can we discern the presence of God's Spirit in history?

We can answer this question only by turning to the Holy Scriptures, which, being inspired by the Paraclete, gradually reveal his action and identity to us...

...The most original feature of biblical revelation is to have recognized history as the privileged realm for the action of God's Spirit. In about 100 passages of the Old Testament, the ruach YHWH indicates the action of the Lord's Spirit guiding his people, especially at important turning points in their journey.

Thus in the period of the judges, God sent his Spirit upon frail men and changed them into charismatic leaders invested with divine energy; this is what happened to Gideon, to Jephthah and in particular to Samson (cf. Jgs 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19).

With the arrival of the Davidic monarchy this divine force, which until then had been manifested unpredictably and sporadically, acquired a certain stability. This can be clearly seen in the royal consecration of David, of which Scripture says: "The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward" (1 Sm 16:13).

During and after the Babylonian exile, Israel's whole history is reread as a long dialogue between God and the people chosen "by his Spirit through the former prophets" (Zec 7:12). The prophet Ezekiel explains the link between the Spirit and prophecy when he says, for example: "And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, 'Say, Thus says the Lord...'" (Ez 11:5). But the prophetic vision looks above all to that privileged time in the future when the promises will be fulfilled under the sign of the divine ruach.

Isaiah foretells the birth of a descendant on whom "the Spirit of the Lord shall rest ... the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord" (Is 11:2-3)... The Messiah of the lineage of David ('from the stump of Jesse') is precisely that person on whom the Spirit 'shall rest'" (Dominum et Vivificantem, n. 15).

Two marks of the mysterious identity of the Holy Spirit can already be seen in the Old Testament and are then amply confirmed by the revelation of the New Testament.

The first mark is the absolute transcendence of the Spirit, who is therefore called "holy" (Is 63:10, 11; Ps 51[50]:13). The Spirit of God is in every respect "divine". He is not a reality which man can acquire with his strength, but a gift which comes from on high: he can only be invoked and received. Infinitely "other" with regard to man, the Spirit is communicated with total gratuitousness to those who are called to co-operate with him in the history of salvation. And when this divine energy finds humble and ready acceptance, man is stripped of his selfishness and freed from his fears; truth and love, freedom and peace flourish in the world.

Another mark of God's Spirit is the dynamic power he reveals when intervening in history. At times there is a risk of projecting onto the biblical image of the Spirit concepts tied to other cultures, for example, the concept of "spirit" as something evanescent, static and inert. The biblical concept of ruach, however, indicates a supremely active, powerful and irresistible energy: the Spirit of the Lord, we read in Isaiah, "is like an overflowing stream" (Is 30:28).

Therefore, when the Father intervenes with his Spirit, chaos is transformed into cosmos, the world comes alive and history is set in motion.

January 15, 2007

Excerpted from POPE JOHN PAUL IIís General Audience, Wednesday, May 13, 1998

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01.25.04   Godspy says:
When the Father intervenes with his Spirit, chaos is transformed into cosmos, the world comes alive and history is set in motion.

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