Memorial of St John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
God surely couldn’t work through me, could He?
Many of us have uttered, or at least thought of, some version of the statement above. It’s an admission of how we feel inadequate, insignificant, and altogether fallible. Two things can be true at the same time: We can readily acknowledge our human weakness, and God can still desire to use us in spite of our weakness. God chooses to use frail and even sinful human beings to carry out His designs. The entire biblical narrative is filled with figures who exemplify how “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27).
We need to renew our confidence in speaking and witnessing the truth of Jesus Christ, believing that God seeks to reach out to others through our words and actions. As baptized Christians, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and we share in the authority which enabled Jesus to win over the hearts of the people. Though the chief priests and elders in the Gospel are uncertain of Jesus’ authority, elsewhere Matthew’s Gospel attests how “He taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Mt 7:29).
Our reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit is the key to allowing God to work in and through us. We have to call upon that Spirit and dedicate to God the beginning of a new day, praying: Lord God, I give myself to You, how do You want to use me this day? St. John of the Cross, whom we honor today, said: “Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it.” We find peace when we maintain this fruitful dialogue with the Holy Spirit throughout the various tasks and challenges of our day.
Reflection Question: In what area of my life do I need to take authority and invite the Holy Spirit to govern my thoughts, words, and actions?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB