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The Spirit of Truth

spirit

José Antonio Pagola.

Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples. He sees them sad and upset. Soon they won’t have him with them. Who can fill that void? Until now he has been the one who took care of them, defended them from the Scribes and Pharisees, sustained their weak and faltering faith, described for them the truth of God, and initiated them into God’s humanizing project.

Jesus speaks to them passionately about the Spirit. He doesn’t want to leave them orphans. He himself will ask the Father not to abandon them, to give them “another advocate” that will “always be with them”. Jesus calls this advocate “the Spirit of truth”. What is hidden behind these words of Jesus?

This “Spirit of truth” mustn’t be confused with a doctrine. This truth won’t be sought in theologians’ books or in the hierarchy’s documents. It’s something much more profound. Jesus says that this Spirit “lives in us and is within us”. This Spirit is encouragement, power, light, love…that reaches us from God’s ultimate mystery. We must welcome this Spirit with a simple and trusting heart.

This “Spirit of truth” doesn’t change us into “owners” of the truth. It doesn’t come so that we impose our faith on others, or control their orthodoxy. It comes so that we aren’t left as orphans of Jesus, and invites us to be open to Jesus’ truth: listening, welcoming and living his Gospel.

Nor does this “Spirit of truth” make us “keepers” of the truth, but witnesses. Our task isn’t to argue with, oppose or overthrow adversaries, but to live the truth of the Gospel and “love Jesus, keeping his commands”.

This “Spirit of truth” is within each one of us, defending us from all that can separate us from Jesus. It invites us to open ourselves with simplicity to the mystery of a God who is the Friend of life. Whoever seeks this God with honesty and truth isn’t far off from God. Jesus said on one occasion: “Everyone who is of the truth, listens to my voice”. That’s true.

This “Spirit of truth” invites us to live in the truth of Jesus in the midst of a society where all too often lies are called strategy, exploitation is called business, irresponsibility is called tolerance, injustice is called status quo, arbitrariness is called freedom, lack of respect is called sincerity….

What meaning does Jesus’ Church have if we allow ourselves in our communities to lose this “Spirit of truth”? Who can save it from self-deception, dead ends, generalized mediocrity? Who will announce the Good News of Jesus in a society that is so in need of encouragement and hope?

 

Justice Peace Integrity of Creation, News, Our Mission

Women for Women Foundation in Africa

Education is a significant need in Africa. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals include education as a tool to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Leonida Kwamboka Oriki IBVM, Eastern Africa province, is the Director of Women for Women Foundation in Africa.

Leonida
Leonida Kwamboka Oriki, IBVM

The Foundation exists to provide education, dignity and hope to the families living in Kibera a slum of 630 acres / over 1 million people, located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.

Watch this 8 minutes video that shows the difference these efforts are making in the lives of some children:http://vimeo.com/92597623.

You can also visit their website:  http://www.womenforwomeninafrica.org.au/

Wanawake kwa Wanawake Community Centre
Wanawake kwa Wanawake Community Centre

 

Pray With Us

Trust in God

José Antonio Pagola.

trustgod  The effort that theologians have made throughout the centuries to express the mystery of the Trinity in human concepts, barely helps today’s Christians to revive their trust in God the Father, reaffirm their attraction to Jesus the incarnate Son of God, and welcome with a living faith the presence of God’s Spirit within us.

That’s why it can be good to make an effort to come close to God’s mystery with simple words and with a humble heart, following closely the message, gestures and whole life of Jesus: the mystery of the Son of God incarnate.

The mystery of the Father is intimate love and continuous forgiveness. No one is excluded from the Father’s love, no one is denied the Father’s forgiveness. The Father loves us and seeks each one of his sons and daughters in paths that only the Father knows. He looks at each human being with infinite tenderness and profound compassion. That’s why Jesus always invokes him with a single word: “Father”.

Our first attitude before this Father must be trust. The final mystery of reality, what we believers call “God”, should never cause fear or anxiety: God can only love us. God knows our small and failing faith. We shouldn’t feel sad about our life, almost always so mediocre, or get discouraged when we discover that we’ve lived for years far from this Father. We can abandon ourselves to him with simplicity. Our mustard seed of faith is enough.

Jesus too invites us to trust. These are his words: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in me.” Jesus is the spitting image of the Father. In his words we listen to what the Father tells us. In his gestures and his way of acting, completely given to make life more human, we discover how God loves us.

That’s why in Jesus we can meet in every situation with a God who is concrete, friend, close. He places peace in our lives. He makes us pass from fear to trust, from suspicion to a simple faith in the ultimate mystery of life that is Love alone.

To welcome the Spirit that breathes in the Father and in the Father’s Son Jesus, is to welcome in our very selves the invisible, silent, but real presence of God’s mystery. When we become conscious of this continuous presence, a new trust in God begins to awaken in us.

Our life is fragile, full of contradictions and uncertainty: whether we are believers or non-believers, we are surrounded by mystery. But the all too mysterious presence of the Spirit in us, though weak, is sufficient to sustain our trust in the ultimate Mystery of life that is Love alone.

 

Pray With Us

Pentecost – To live God from the inside

TO LIVE GOD FROM THE INSIDE

José Antonio Pagola.

PentecostSome years ago, the great German theologian, Karl Rahner, dared to affirm that the main and most urgent problem in the church today is her “spiritual mediocrity”. These were his words: the true problem of the Church is “to keep throwing herself with a resignation and an ever greater tedium along the routine paths of a spiritual mediocrity”.

The problem hasn’t done anything except get worse in these last decades. It has served us little to try to reform institutions, preserve the liturgy or keep watch over orthodoxy. In the hearts of many Christians the interior experience of God is going out.

Modern society has signaled for “the exterior”. Everything invites us to live from the outside. Everything pressures us to move about hurriedly, without stopping for anything or anyone. Peace doesn’t have a chance now to penetrate our heart. We live almost constantly in the outer skin of life. We’re forgetting what it means to savor life from within. For the human being, our life lacks an essential dimension: interiority.

It’s sad to observe that not even in Christian communities do we know how to care for and promote the interior life. Many don’t know what’s in the silence of their heart, they aren’t taught to live faith from within. Deprived of an inner experience, we hang on for dear life, forgetting about our soul: listening to words with our ears and pronouncing prayers with our lips, while our heart is nowhere to be found.

In the Church there’s much talk about God, but where and when do we believers listen to the silent presence of God in the deepest depths of our heart? Where and when do we welcome the Spirit of the Resurrected One in our inner self? When do we live in communion with the Mystery of God from within?

To welcome God’s Spirit means allowing ourselves to speak alone with a God whom we almost always put far off and outside of ourselves, and to learn to listen to God in the silence of our heart. Stop thinking of God only with the head, and learn to perceive God in the most intimate part of our being.

This interior experience of God, something real and concrete, transforms our faith. You wonder at how you could live without discovering this before. Now you know why it’s possible to believe, even in a secularized culture. Now you know an inner joy that’s new and different. It seems to me very difficult to maintain faith in God for very long in the midst of the agitation and frivolity of modern life, without knowing, albeit in a humble and simple way, some interior experience of the Mystery of God.

 

News

World Environment Day

“The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”  Pope Benedict XVI, 2009

June 5th we mark World Environment Day. First established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to raise awareness and take action, we take time on this day to be attentive to the interconnection of environment issues with society, politics, economics, spirituality etc.

World environment Day     This year’s theme is “Planet Earth is our shared Island, let us join forces to protect it”. This theme was chosen  in support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of the SIDS and the urgency of the dangers threatening them due to  climate change. Go for more on: http://www.unep.org/wed/about/#.U4cEmnKSy-k. 

            We pray for our members in and the people of Mauritius and Timor-Leste, two of the small island states.

 

News

IBVM-CJ leadership groups meet

IBVM – CJ leadership groups meet. On May 26th the two leadership groups met, as has happened on several other occasions in the last two years, for prayer, companionship and collaboration – this time at Casa Loreto. We rejoiced with the account of life in the CJ-IBVM community in Manila, The Philippines; furthered the work of an online Document Library for Mary Ward and education resources, and turned our attention to the 2015 anniversary year of the Just Soul. The meeting concluded with a pizza supper on the terrace.

CJ_IBVM_meeting

Back row left to right: Carmen Diston, Elisabeth Kampe, Sandra Perrett, Cecilia Yeom Jaeyoung, Barbara Murphy, Prisca Vadekepoondikulan and Elena Gatica Romero. Front row left to right: Beatrice Stuart, Marian Moriarty and Jane Livesey.