Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples to bring fire and flame to their hearts’ commitment to Jesus. Do we sense the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Do we allow the Lord to inspire us to burn with a desire for greater intimacy? Good stewards balance their everyday lives with their outpouring of love in their deeds and in their prayer lives as they grow closer to Christ.
In the mystical writings of St. Teresa of Avila, this doctor of the Church tells a beautiful story that underscores her relationship with Jesus. Teresa would often engage in conversation with the Lord, and one evening, Teresa heard Jesus ask her name, to which she replied with her religious name, saying, “I am Teresa of Jesus.”
Teresa was heartened to inquire of the Lord, “And who are you?” to which she heard Jesus respond, “I am Jesus of Teresa.”
What beautiful intimacy Teresa felt with the Lord! It is to this intimacy, this deeply personal relationship, that each of us is called. St. Francis of Assisi, whose name our new Pope Francis has chosen, was said to have prayed simply by asking repeatedly of the Lord, “Who are you, and who am I?” It was from the depths of the answers he received, and the questions he continued to ask, that Francis drew his strength to renew Christ’s church.
To lead a life filled with contemplative moments is the call given to each Christian steward. St. Ignatius of Loyola called us to “contemplation in action,” that combination, that holy amalgam, of prayer in our life that inspires the good things we do each day which in return deepens our commitment to prayer.
As Christian stewards, we know that our good works become hollow when they are done without a relationship with the Lord who inspires us. By the same token, a prayer life can become rote and sterile if we leave it behind when we set out into our workaday world. We must be committed to a balance, a blend in our lives of the intimacy with Christ which enables us to do the good work to which we aspire.
May this Easter Season and the feast of Pentecost inflame our hearts with the desire to know Jesus and to live our lives in his service.