Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

We share the breath of the Divine Spirit



mary_holyspirit_webThe Spirit by which the Church lives is the Spirit of love, of unity. Unity can be preserved or restored only by understanding, acceptance and pardon. The Church is a body of men who know they are forgiven and who forgive repeatedly because they are themselves forgiven repeatedly.

The Church is then not so much a body of men who are pure and never offend, but of men who, in their weakness and frailty, frequently err and offend, but who have received from God the power to forgive one another in His name. They possess the Holy Spirit and they can give the Holy Spirit in some sense, to one another. The Holy Spirit Himself moves them to do this, and acts in them, to save others. (See Acts 8:14-18, 26-39; 10:24-48, etc.)

We, then, who form one body in Christ, share with one another the message of Christ's divine truth, we share His word, we share His worship, we share His love, we share His Spirit.

The highest adoration we offer to God, "in spirit and in truth" is in this sharing of the breath of the Divine Spirit with one another in pardon and in love. That is why we are told to forgive our brother before we go to offer sacrifice. That is why we exchange the kiss of peace before Communion. The kiss of peace is in some way a part of our Eucharistic communion: it symbolizes the spiritual sharing of the Holy Spirit. With a holy kiss we give the Holy Spirit to our brother, as if the flame of one candle were transferred to enlighten another.

Thomas Merton, OCSO
Seasons of Celebration, p. 227


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