By Deacon Derick Cranston
What weighs you down the most and places a heavy burden upon you? Is there anxiety, doubt or some vice in your life — especially during this time of COVID-19 — which ensnares your soul?
Something you just feel that you cannot escape from? Jesus recognizes this dilemma and that is why he sends the Holy Spirit to be with us. We read about this in the “Final Discourse” of Jesus in John’s Gospel. But what exactly is the Spirit and how does it fit into our life?
Jesus tells us the Spirit is a gift from God, which is eternal and everlasting. It comes into our hearts and inspires us to express our love for the Father and for our neighbor. It tells us what is important, and speaks to us of eternal truths. But the world does not see and accept the Spirit.
Why? Because we are a people conflicted between what is human and divine, and we often forget that the world is a temporary home which does not last forever. It is this forgetfulness which blinds us to the Spirit. And when we are blind, we cannot see the power of the Spirit and become entangled in the thorns of worry and vice. The way out of this darkness is to put ourselves in the presence of God. Even though it is unsafe to gather together physically to worship, we can still come together spiritually.
Whenever you participate in church via a display screen, read the Bible or offer up your prayers with others, you are putting yourself in the presence of God. It is then that the Spirit will give you the strength to live out your life in faithfulness and harmony.
In this time of isolation and social distancing, this is more important than ever. When we feel alone, the temptation to fall into despondency and vice is strong. It is vital to open your eyes, and see the light of the Spirit.
If you can do this, you can become a vessel of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit will work through you, with you and in you. You can become a light unto others and lead them through the darkness. And in doing so you untangle yourself from the snares of sin and set yourself free.
(Deacon Cranston is pastoral associate for St. Mary Parish in Riverside, Holy Trinity Parish in Richmond and St. Joseph Parish in Wellman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.