Painted by Gema Soto-Marquez, Confirmandi 2016
An imprisoned St. Paul once wrote to his disciple Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”1 At this mid-point in the Easter season, as we await the coming of Pentecost, this passage comes to mind as a beautiful reminder of the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Catholics.
St. Paul was an imprisoned Apostle, soon enough to be martyred, joining the ranks of the other apostles, especially St. Peter who was also martyred in Rome. St. Paul was suffering for the Good News in Christ: “and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.”2 He would later say in the same letter to St. Timothy, “As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”3
Following St.Paul would be countless men and women to follow in his steps of living life to the fullest in the Spirit – the Spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Faithful disciples of Christ would boldly continue throughout history to proclaim the power of Christ and the life in the Spirit of love, disciples like Blessed Oscar Romero in San Salvador, or Maximilian Kolbe in Poland during World War II, or Pope St. John Paul II under the dictatorships of his time, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta against the vanity of the world or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross against the Nazis and the atheism of her culture. In them, we have lights throughout history, shining in the darkness of the suffering world – and in contradiction to suffering itself – explosively illuminating what the Spirit of power and of love and of self-control is, and who He is that lives within us.
Perhaps in our lives today, we can imitate these wonderfully holy men and women, seeking that same Spirit – to “rekindle” that gift of God that we have received through Baptism and Confirmation. A simple way to do so would be to take some time to listen to that Spirit through reading of the Scriptures or in silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Tonight, on April 19th, there is a Confirmation Mass that will be held at St. Anthony’s at 7 p.m. Come and share in the joy of the Spirit as we witness the outpouring of that same gift on a number of youth and adults! If you cannot attend, please pray for them and for the rekindling of that Spirit in your life.
1 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NRSVCE)
2 ibid. 1:12
3 ibid. 4:6-7