Let us begin by lighting a candle, making the sign of the Cross, quieting ourselves and welcoming God into the space where we dwell and into our mind and heart.
Play this Taizé chant to aid in coming into this space of prayer. Veni Sancte Spiritus – Come Holy Spirit
Read the following slowly and reflect on the words as you read and pray them.
Where the Spirit is there is creation and new life. Where the Spirit is, there is the living Christ. The Spirit is the breath of God’s creative love, so that whoever lives in the Spirit lives in the ever newness of God.Sr Ilia Delio OSF
“Jesus said to Nicodemus, “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” “(Jn. 3:6-8)
This is the second time in the Gospel of John that we hear mention of the Spirit of God. The first time, John the Baptist announces that he has seen the Spirit descend and remain on Jesus. Now it is spoken of by Jesus who wants to explain to Nicodemus, a learned and holy man, that God cannot be boxed in or reduced to formulas and definitions.
When it comes to religion the big temptation for believers is to divide the world into those who love God and those who don’t, those who are saved and those who are not. Nicodemus is falling into this trap and Jesus uses the language of the Spirit as breath to suggest to him that perhaps he should look at the world in another way.
For Jesus, being born from above means learning to see the world the way God sees it. As we know from the Book of Genesis “God saw all that he had made and indeed it was very good” (Gen 1:31). This did not change with the sin of Adam, the world is God’s world, human beings are still made in his image, we are blessed. The difficulty for us is that we make divisions, we see from below or in a worldly way with the eyes of the “flesh” and we divide life into the sacred and the profane because we think either that’s how God made it or that’s what sin has done to it. We may put a lot of effort into living in the sacred world and avoiding the profane. Yet there is only one world, and it is the Spirit that moves us to see this.
The breath of God moves in ways that we cannot manipulate or control. In and through all the ups and downs of our daily human struggles the Spirit points us towards the creator God who offers us life. Sadly, we can and sometimes do choose to live otherwise, as though we were just born of “the flesh” and living in a world other than the one made by God.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.”(Ps. 51:10-11)
A Moment of Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges you?
What sensations do you notice in your body – as a reaction to what you have read?
What is the Spirit inviting you to do?
Bring this moment of contemplation to a close by invoking the Holy Spirit in the words of St. Francis of Assisi. This prayer for discernment, also know as the prayer of the cave or the prayer before the crucifix is one that comes from the early part of the life of Francis when he was seeking the wisdom and light of the Holy Spirit. We pray that we may be guided in all our ways by the light of the Spirit of the Lord: Veni Sancte Spiritus!
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart,
and give me right faith,
and perfect charity,
wisdom and understanding,
Lord, that I may carry out
your holy and true command.
Allow a moment of quiet
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Lord Jesus, teacher and friend guide us towards trust in the movement of your Spirit,
to an openness to this mysterious breath that is the guarantee of your abiding presence with us each day,
You who are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen
End with playing this piece of music from Bernadette Farrell, Spirit of God
And we end – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen