“…According to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” – Titus 3:5
Do you know who you are? Do you know whose you are? St. Paul says: “you are not your own; you were bought with a price” (1Cor. 6:19b-20). You are created for greatness in Christ Jesus! At Baptism, you were given new life and a new identity as you were adopted into God’s family “through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Through the Sacraments of Initiation, you have received a “spirit of power and love and self-control” (2Tim 1:7). God has equipped you with everything you need to live in His power and to fulfill His purpose for your life.
Quite often, we Christians suffer from “spiritual amnesia” and find ourselves submitting to a “spirit of timidity” (2Tim 1:7). We forget who we are and whose we are. To use an analogy from Superman, it’s like someone put kryptonite in our water bottle, causing all of our power to disappear. We can find ourselves struggling to get the basics right, never mind going forth to carry out the Lord’s great commission to go and “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28: 19).
The causes of “spiritual amnesia” are threefold: the world, the flesh and the devil. Jesus came to save the world (Jn 3:16), but we must also recognize that until the world is converted and won over for Christ, it will always be hostile to Him and His disciples. Aside from our Most Blessed Mother Mary, all of us suffer from the effects of Original Sin known as concupiscence. Like St. Paul, we can find ourselves doing the very thing we hate (Rom 7:15). Lastly, the Word of God repeatedly warns us about the evil one, who is like a prowling lion “looking for someone to devour” (1Pet 5:9).
The antidote, and also vaccine, to “spiritual amnesia” is worship. The Catechism beautifully teaches: “the worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world” (CCC 2097). We were created for worship, its hard-wired into our very being. If we don’t worship the Lord God of Hosts, we will worship someone or something else! But when we do make time each day to worship the Lord we reaffirm who we are and whose we are. We are drawn out of ourselves and into the loving embrace of the Most Blessed Trinity. We come to a profound place of self-forgetfulness, where Saint Paul’s words become our own: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:19-20). Through the power of worship, the “gift of God” gets stirred into flame (2Tim 1:6) and we are AWAKENED to the power of God within.
Becoming a worshipper (Rev. 4:-11), becoming a sacrifice of praise (Rom 12:1), like Anna in the Temple (Luk 2:37), satisfies the Father’s desire (Jn 4:23), tastes the glory that awaits (1Cor 2:9-10), and discovers the river of living water (Jn. 7:38) that regenerates and empowers us for mission. From this profound place of self-forgetfulness, we can say with Blessed Mother Theresa: “I’m a little pencil in hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” Yes, we too can be a powerful vessel of love and mercy, if we only remembered who and whose we are. Worship Him!
Fr. Matt Williams will be speaking at the 2016 Power and Purpose Conference this summer. Hope to see you there!