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January 9, 1998     The Message
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January 9, 1998
 

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9, 1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 MILLER PEDERSEN ' i Catholic News Service ago the "Star Wars" phe- as a big screen film, nto a billion-dollar product to be a fixture .. In the face of and the power of Skywalker called on the e with him in his battle with a famous line from the tted it to mem- be with you." In Screen into popular a fascination that shows itself across social, eco- reli lines. ts a hunger for a or power that might Our everyday battles.  power is evidenced have overcome alcohol by calling on with a sword- of darkness as Luke but many of us run terms of sick- he, addictive behaviors, crime and or other crises vulnerable and do, what recourse most of us, there is around to offer for we Christians certain promise that (God) will triumph prism, we are Our journey through the very power of made present to us on this Spirit at a But this is no movie- about. This is not This is divine reve- on to us for thousands of in tradition and i the POWer of God's Spirit, I" who iswith all , i be levers L .... . Isaiah proclaimed liberty to captive Israel. -- At Pentecost, this amazing Spirit came upon the apostles, strengthening them for the challenges they would encounter. Each of us, at baptism and confirma- tion, received that same Holy Spirit, who empowers us on our journey. "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever," Jesus told his apostles (John 14:16). This "paraclete" literally refers to "he who is called to one's side" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 692). This ever-present and all-powerful God is every baptized believer's companion. Such a piece of good news should surely be articulated and celebrated by all of us. And that is exactly what we are invited to do as the new year 1998 begins. In preparation for the new mil- lennium, Pope John Paul II asked every- one in the church this year to learn about and celebrate the power of the Holy Spir- it among ust Why would laity want to spend a year focusing on the Holy Spirit? One reason is that we are vulnerable and often feel unprotected from the forces of darkness in our lives. But it's not the technical wizardry or magic of Luke Skywalker that we need. We need an increased awareness and access to the mystery of the Lord's presence with us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. And we have a whole year to work at that. May the Spirit of God be with us. Pedersen is coordinator of the Leadership in Family Life Training Program for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb. Continued from page 8 greater joy ? Noted author Frederick Buechner puts succinctly the graced location of the union between the Spirit and us in dis- cernment: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." DiscuSsion Point: ! do You have about the Holy Spirit in Christian life? From Readers: that the Spirit is present in our daily life when we see others time?... How does the Spirit influence us to be more .... decisions we see need to be made?" -- Molly Doyle, Phoenix, is that I don't completely understand the Spirit, and I a better way to explain the movement of the Spirit in our the Holy Spirit is present." -- Maxine Cooke, Pittsburgh, Pa. ore awareness among Christians of... not just the gifts of the By goods I mean compassion toward each other, accep- and mutual respect." --Janet Kistler, Phoenix, Ariz. 'the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives everyday.... Is there others recognize the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives?" N.Y. asks: What form(s) of fasting are practiced in your faith publication, pleat write: Faith Alive! 3211 Fourth 20017.1100. i i;i "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever,' Jesus told his apostles .... This 'paraclete" literally refers to "he who is called to one's side,'" explains Mary Miller Pedersen. -- CNS photo by Bill Wittman Few words are as popular today as "spirituality." But often the word comes to mean the self-centered search for whatever we deeply value in life or our quest to find meaning and purpose. For Catholics, spirituality is our full response as persons to the person of the Holy Spirit, who so wants to be in com- munion with us. It is a union experi- enced in the challenge of everyday life, from brushing one's teeth to welcoming one's children off the bus, to learning when to turn off the computer. It is the union Jesus anticipated when he id, "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, that the Father wiU send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (John 15:26). It is this union with the living God that we pray for in this year of the Spirit. Father Rice is a spiritual director with Loyola, a spiritual renewal resource in St. Paul, Minn. Food for thought. ...... ............................. Sometimes the moment arrives when you must decide to address a trou- blesome situation that can no longer be allowed to drift along in its more or less harmful way. However, knowing you must take action Can be frightening. Do you fear that doing so will lead to a confrontation with someone you care about? Are you apprehensive that, unwittingly, you'll make the situation worse? In this kind of situation, when a decision must be made to take action, peo- ple look to the Holy Spirit for courage. We know from Scripture that the Spir- it can move in our lives as gently as the evening breeze. But we know also that the Spirit can be as powerful as a strong wind. Whatever the case, the Spirit is active -- able to move us into action, to give us the courage to act. But not the courage to act recklessly. In deciding to take action we also need: Good judgment. Clarity about the possible ways of acting, and -- The ability to act in ways that allow our love for others involved to remain visible. The Spirit can move us along all these avenues at once. David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!