In order to be human, our life lacks an essential dimension: interiority. We’re obliged to live rapidly, without stopping for anything or anyone, and happiness doesn’t have time to enter into our heart. We pass rapidly through it all and almost always stay in the superficial. We’re forgetting to listen to life with any depth or profundity.
Silence could heal us, but we’re no longer capable of finding it in the middle of our thousand concerns. Each day there’s less space for the spirit in our daily life. On the other hand, who is going to be concerned about things so little valued as the inner life is today, or meditation or the search for God?
Deprived of inner nourishment, we survive by closing our eyes, forgetting our soul, clothing ourselves with layers and layers of projects, busyness and illusions. We have now learned to live «like things in the middle of things» (Jean Onimus). But it’s sad to observe that all too frequently even religion isn’t able to give warmth and inner life to people. In a world that has put its money on «the external», God ends up as an «object» all too far away and, to tell the truth, of little interest for daily life.
That’s why it’s not strange to see many men and women ”pass on God”, ignore God, don’t know what God’s about, and succeed in living without having any need for God. Maybe God exists, but what’s certain is that God doesn’t “have anything to do” with our life.
The Gospel writers present Jesus as the one who comes to «baptize with the Holy Spirit», that is, as someone who can cleanse our existence and heal it with the power of the Spirit. And maybe the first task of today’s Church would be precisely that of offering that «baptism of the Holy Spirit» to men and women of our day.
We need that Spirit who teaches us to pass from the purely external to what is more intimate in the human being, in the world and in life. A Spirit who teaches us to welcome that God who lives in the interior of our lives and in the center of our existence.
It’s not enough that the Gospel be preached. Our ears are all too accustomed and now don’t hear the message of the words. Only the real, alive, concrete experience of a new and different inner joy can convince us.
Men and women who have become bundles of excited nerves, beings who are moved by an external and empty agitation, who are already tired of almost everything and without any inner joy at all, can we do anything better than stop our life just a little, humbly call upon a God in whom we still believe, and open ourselves trustingly to the Spirit who can transform our existence? Could our Christian communities be a space where we go about welcoming God’s Spirit incarnate in Jesus?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf