Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Baptismal Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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God's Love Tears Through the Heavens

Since the end of last summer we have had the blessing of the presence of a new priest at Mt. St. Alphonsus Pastoral Center - the large former seminary building with which we share this property. Father Thomas Deeley, CSsR, former missionary in the Caribbean, who spent the last ten years ministering in the South Bronx, is finding new ways to promote the Redemptorist mission in our local community, among the growing Hispanic population in our area, and for us contemplative nun in Mother of Perpetual Help Monastery. His homilies are a blessing and very creative. With his permission I am going to be using his material on occasion.

Last Sunday we entered chapel to find paper doves like the one here scattered on the carpet in front of the altar. Later, each of us present was invited to take one to us for our meditation. Here is part of Fr. Tom's homily:

The heavens were torn open... When we pray we are trying to tear open the heavens. We reach toward God and know that God is reaching toward us and speaking with us as much as he does today during Jesus' baptism, saying "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."

God has torn open the heavens and sent Jesus to us. God has torn open the heavens to send the Holy Spirit over and upon Jesus and the Church. God invites us to know and see him tearing open the heavens to be with us, to forgive us, to speak to us, nourish us and then send us to be his witnesses.

In prayer we literally tear open the heavens as we ask God to make us more conscious of his love for us, more grateful for his love of us. When we evangelize others we are inviting them to also tear open the heavens to plead with God to bless them, to make them free and strong and generous in living the Gospel of Jesus.

When we are born again in Baptism the life of Christ happens within us. We love, we forgive, we heal, we reconcile. We see peace and justice. We do not live ever in fear...but in HOPE. We have overcome the world when we are born again. The world here always means forces that are against God's love and God's plan. They are the 'anti-Kingdom' works. From these forces of death we near to tear ourselves away. God's love and salvation are tearing through the heavens as in the Creation. God's love has literally torn through the heavens to get to us.

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