“These Virtues ‘in the Holy Spirit’” (2 Cor 6) (6/17/2019)
Fr. Ignatius John Schweitzer, OP
In our 1st reading, St Paul gives us quite a list of traits we are to imitate. He speaks of being servants of God, for example, ‘through much endurance, hardships, constraints, labors, vigils, fasts; by purity, patience, kindness, unfeigned love, through glory and dishonor, insult and praise…as sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” How are we to accomplish such a list? And this is only part of it! How is it possible?
Well, William of St-Thierry, a monk from the 11th century and best friend of St Bernard comments on this passage. He notes that in the midst of this list of almost impossible virtues, we find our answer as to how it is possible to live it out. Right smack in the middle of all this we find from St Paul these words, “in the Holy Spirit.” That is our answer. “In the Holy Spirit.” “In the power of God” we can attain to the seemingly impossible.
The Holy Spirit is enough for us, but His help has to be sought moment by moment. We can’t store up the power of the Holy Spirit as in a battery. We have to seek the Holy Spirit in the midst of our needs, now. So St Paul also reminds us “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
So I leave you with a prayer to the Holy Spirit from William of St Thierry that we can make our own in asking for the help of the Holy Spirit.
‘O God, Love, Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and the Son, dwell in us and set us in order so that your will may be done in us. Let your will be our will, so that being ready to do the will of the Lord, our God, we may find his law and his order in the midst of our heart. May our soul which is your bride, by loving you come to understand in your love what she is called to do with herself. Rather, by your dwelling in her, you, the God who is himself Love, bring it to pass in her that she may love you.’ Amen. (from Song of Songs, 31).