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Everyday Mysticism: Weekly Message for 05/15/2018
Dear Digital Pilgrims in Christ,
Several weeks ago, my spiritual director put me on the spot asking how I was preparing for the upcoming feast of Pentecost. At the time, I was still riding high on the waves of Easter joy and had not thought that far ahead. My response was simply “I am just trying to live in the present moment”. “Excellent, exactly!” was his enthusiastic reply, “for that’s what the spiritual life is all about recognizing and responding to the continual interior movements of the Holy Spirit in each moment.”
In this final week of the Easter season, the liturgy is preparing us for Christ’s final departure and the coming of the Paraclete at Pentecost: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” “I am the True Vine, you are the branches, remain in Me.” All through Easter, we have heard in the Preface of how we are “overcome with paschal joy.” That is how we can look at these final instructions and anticipation for Pentecost, with the joy of knowing that He will remain with us always.
An image of how we encounter the presence of the Holy Spirit that can be most powerful is one given by St. Therese of Lisieux’s life and teaching describing this anticipated experience with the Holy Spirit as “everyday mysticism”. The occasion to fulfill a daily task that requires complete self-forgetfulness without affirmation; being drawn to spending time in silence in a brief prayer; quiet awe in the beauty and majesty of nature; or an experience of freely forgiving someone without needing anything in return are all promptings by the Holy Spirit actively drawing us to love God and others.
There are copious examples of how we can experience the day-to-day nudges of the Holy Spirit.
“Everyday mysticism” does not necessarily happen through extraordinary events such as unusual prayer experiences, visions, or levitations. Rather, “everyday mystical experiences” are both ordinary and extraordinary; ordinary in that they happen continually in daily life and extraordinary in that they open us to the profound experience of God’s presence through his mercy and love. God is present in each of these experiences awaiting our notice. When we acknowledge and respond to this divine reality in the experience of each moment we encounter the “mysticism of everyday life”. St. Therese’s little way of walking with God, living truthfully each day in great simplicity and inner freedom, doing what is to be done, not worried about the results, content to be pleasing God alone and loving our neighbor shows us how we live in the Spirit.
So a good preparation this Pentecost might simply be to reflect upon how I am adequately acknowledging the Holy Spirit’s role in the good actions I perform every day or do I attribute them only to my own initiative and hard work?
Having experienced her Pentecost at the Annunciation, may Mary accompany and inspire us in these days leading up to Pentecost to be aware of his divine love in each moment. The gift of the Holy Spirit would be a new experience for the disciples at Pentecost. For Mary, it would bring a deeper union with her Spouse, a new departure, a new expansion of love. May our ability to receive the Holy Spirit be in proportion to our intense desire and openness to receive him in the ordinary events of our daily life.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
With the assurance of my prayers,
Director, RC Spirituality