Read this week's message from Father Don
The Church has gone through many changes over the past 2000 years.
In the first decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Church had to adapt to Gentile culture in response to the increasing number of non-Jewish converts. Later, when European missionaries travelled to “foreign lands” they also had to find new ways of explaining the Good News to the local people in their local language and culture. Even today there remain significant differences between Catholic life in the Philippines, Africa, communist China, and the secular Western world.
With this great human diversity, how has the Church managed to remain united? The Holy Spirit has kept the Church together, in good times and in bad.
In our generation too, the Holy Spirit is working, though not always in the way we wish. Human beings like stability and Catholics in particular are accustomed to a stable structure of worship, prayer, teachings, and moral values. For this reason, we find the instability and moral confusion of the present age very unsettling. The Holy Spirit, however, does not.
The Holy Spirit is flexible and infinitely creative. He works when and as he can, not confining himself to the structures of the Catholic faith, beneficial as these might be. Of him it may truly be said, he meets people “where they are at.”
The Holy Spirit works in the life of every person, slowly moving them toward greater love and spiritual maturity. Unlike ourselves, he is not discouraged by fallen-away Catholics, young people living together or even by those in grave sin. He works when and as he can, never losing hope or giving up.
Ours is the “Age of the Holy Spirit” in which creativity and flexibility are being required of us, lest we fall into despair. We are being challenged to believe that the old ways are not always the best ways, and that the Holy Spirit desires to lead us into newer ways that can be effective in the ever-changing 21st C. spiritual landscape. It is a time for patience and for placing our hope in the Spirit, trusting in him and seeking his consolation continually.
Ours is not the worst of times, it is simply the times in which we happen to find ourselves. It is an age in which the Holy Spirit is working both in non-believers and in those believers who are willing to be changed by him.
A lesson for 2023: No more fear, no more anger, just trust and openness to the Holy Spirit of God.