Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Never Orphaned

Christ has no hands but yours; no feet but yours; no voice but yours. Saint Teresa of Avila

Jesus said to the disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” He then promises them, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you…I will love those who love me and will reveal myself to them.” That promise of Jesus is fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit has been breathed into them, into us. Jesus has not left us orphaned. In Scripture orphans and widows are those alone, abandoned, defenseless and vulnerable.

We all fear being orphaned - alone, vulnerable, powerless. It is a fear that points to a deeper reality that by ourselves, we are not enough, we were not created to be alone. We were created to love and to be loved; to live in relationship; to dwell, abide, remain within one another as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. This is the reality that Jesus offers us in breathing his Spirit into us.

Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, the ups and downs, the deaths and separations, we have never been and will never be orphaned by God. But is our love growing and expanding to all, far and near, no matter how different they are; no matter what language they speak? If so, then Jesus’ Spirit is for us a present reality, closer to us than we are to ourselves. This is what it means to know, to taste the fulfillment of his promise not to leave us orphaned. If we set limits on our love; if we remain self-enclosed and locked in the isolation of our upper rooms, then we relegate ourselves and each other to the orphanages of the world. Jesus’ promise is still real, and he remains faithful. Every time we expand our lungs with the in-flowing breath of Jesus, we expand the limits of our love and create space where the Father and Jesus make their home. 
Photograph by Father Emmanuel. Excerpts from Abbot Damian's Pentecost homily.