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First Friday Reflection, July 2014

It's July and we're back to Ordinary Time—the long stretch of the liturgical year before Advent. 

June was extraordinary with Pentecost, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, graduations, weddings, vacations and more. After all that celebrating perhaps now we have a bit more time for quiet reflection. Yet this time is also full. It is full with Jesus' last words about sending His Spirit of truth to guide us as we continue learning to love well. 

What were those extraordinary Pentecost gifts we were promised last month? Wisdom. Understanding. Right judgment. Courage. Knowledge. Reverence. Wonder and awe in God's presence. How do I enflesh these gifts now? (Now … If not now, when? … now and at the hour of our death: the two important moments ... Now is the acceptable time … Now… ) And are the fruits of the Holy Spirit apparent in my life now? The list is comforting, but actually quite demanding: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Generosity. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.  

The power of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit is to set our hearts, our lives, our communities on fire with the love of the Heart of Christ for the life of the world. Lydia Cho's Heart captures this reality. There is in the image a movement both inward and outward, both contemplative and apostolic. The viewer is drawn to an ever-deepening center, to the Heart-center, and simultaneously impelled outward in an ever-widening circle of energy, truth, love, and light… to be Christ’s Heart on earth.

This movement, this energy, is the work of the Spirit whose gifts and fruits could make our Ordinary Time quite extraordinary.

Reflection by Sally Rude, RSCJ
Image by Lydia Cho, RSCJ