I like to be on the move. From one place to another in ministry, it’s almost like I just can’t sit still. That’s not such a bad thing. I get to meet a lot of people (funy how much joy that brings, considering how shy I grew up), see a lot of places, share my talents and hopes and struggles. And down here in Camarillo, it can get pretty breezy as the wind comes rushing trough the canyons on these warm (winter? Spring? Summer?) mornings. So that’s a pretty apt way to think if the Holy Spirit. Blowing like the wind, wherever he will, and taking us along for the ride if we merely give our consent. After all, the word for spirit in the New Testament is the same word as for wind. And in the Old Testament, it’s the same word as for breath. God’s Spirit breathes life and goes where he wants like the wind, invisibly, softly, powerfully.
But there is something even more challenging about the Spirit for me than going every where and doing everything I have the time to do. And that is simply sitting still, listening to God in prayer, and finding out that sometimes he simply wants us to sit still, be right where we are, and know that he is God.
I was texting back and forth with my mom just the other day, when I was getting back to the Sem from a nice weekend home. I was thanking her for dealing with my constant running around even when I’m home, from one ministry to the next. I had come home Friday night after a long day of teaching at my field education placement at a high school in Oxnard, only to go back up to the Seminary Saturday for a young adult group in the evening, spend the night there, come home Sunday morning for Mass with mom and dad, stay for dinner, and then get back up to the Sem for classes Monday morning. The weekend before was not much different: Reawaken up there with you all on Friday night, driving down to Thousand Oaks in the rain for a Core Team meeting for the young adult group in Ventura region, a huge fundraising dinner in Downtown Los Angeles that night, and then back up to Camarillo Sunday morning for Mass at my Sunday parish. Not a lot of room to breathe, by I love it!
I found myself almost apologizing to my mom about how little I’m around even when I’m at home. I told her, “It’s not that I can’t say no to these things, it’s that I love to be able to say yes to them all.” It sometimes comes up in my annual reviews here at the Sem, when we go over with the faculty how our year has gone and look for where we can continue to grow, that I tend to take on a lot of responsibilities. And I agree, but I love being able to say yes, to run wild like the Spirit, free as the wind.
But then again, there is a lot of wisdom in their question: sometimes the Spirit is asking us to go everywhere and do everything. But sometimes God wants us to sit still and hear his voice and know that he is God. As I’ve said here before, God may not always be in that powerful, tree rending, sand stirring, fire driving wind. God’s voice can be pretty small, and pretty still. How will we know what he wants if we don’t sit still for a minute and listen?