Presently I am having the beautiful grace of attending a course, online, beautifully organized by the PFI, that is the Pastoral Formation Institute of the Archdiocese of Malta. The course’s name is The Theology of the Holy Spirit.
While I am really enjoying myself learning about different theological approaches as to how one is to reflect and appreciate the Person of the Holy Spirit, very recently I was wisely challenged to PRAY to the Holy Spirit. Such an exercise is of vital importance to let the Spirit revive our faith and make it at the disposal of the Holy Spirit to bring it back to life anew. It powerfully brings to my mind what Pope Benedict XVI said in his address to the participants in the Fourth national Ecclesial Convention in Verona on Thursday 19, October 2006, during his pastoral visit: Our vocation and our Christian duty consist in cooperating so that they reach effective fulfilment in the daily reality of our life, what the Holy Spirit accomplishes in us with Baptism.
Since I am baptized also feel duty bound to make my prayer to the Spirit of God: Holy Spirit, Power of God, talk to me with these verses. Amen. And here are the verses which the Spirit provided to me thanks to my theology class teacher, 1 Kgs 3:5-15, which recount the experience when king Solomon asks God for wisdom.
Solomon’s prayer to the question by the Lord: Ask what I shall give you (1 Kgs3:5) teaches me a lot of things. First, God is infinitely pleased when we remind him of his great and steadfast love (1 Kgs3:5) he constantly shows to those whom He chooses to serve him. Second, in this prayer, God infinitely loves a faithful, righteous and an upright heart (see 1 Kgs3:6). Third, God responds to a faithful heart by filling it to the brim with his great and steadfast love (1 Kgs3:6). This is the real throne for that heart. Fourth, God becomes crazy after a humble heart and gives it what it asks and much more.
Fifth, in Solomon’s prayer when we become nothing in front of God, God becomes our everything. Sixth, asking God to be discerning and be of great help for others to discern is a prayer which touches his innermost. He responds to it with infinite generosity, mercy, abundance and steadfastness. This prayer is a powerful affirmation of God’s glory when we try to live what the Book of Leviticus tells us: You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord (Lev 19:18). Seventh, when we ask for God’s wisdom He will be giving us countless grace to carry out his loving plan for us and for other’s benefits. Asking for God’s wisdom is the prayer so that what Jesus promised us in John 10:10, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly, becomes realizable in our lives. Eighth, asking for God’s wisdom is the highest prayer we can do. It is the fulfilment and the very soul of our cultic, ritual prayer and offering to God.
From Solomon’s prayer I started to realize how the gift of discerning is an excellent tool in our hands to let the Holy Spirit help us love truly God and our neighbor as ourselves. As we find in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12 from verses 29 till 31: The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
Also, in this prayer of Solomon to God I notice, flowing like a river, what Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well (Matt 6:33). Obviously, these things which Jesus is talking about in this context refer to the clothing (see Matt 6:28); eating, drinking and wearing (see Matt 6:31). Jesus insists in this chapter when he purposely mentions Solomon: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well (Matt 6:33). That is why he wisely cautions and advises you and me: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt 6:19-21).
One last note I would like to share with you is this: God’s dreams are always action related. They find their fruition in their actual accomplishment. This makes perfect sense since God is the truth itself and what He promises, when its time for its realization, becomes a reality. In other words, God’s dreams are incarnated into the domain of humanity.
Spirit of God, fill me with yourself and let me let you take me in yourself so that in yourself I find myself anew. Amen.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap