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Sunday, October 7, 2001

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27th Sunday Ordinary Time

Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Psalm 95
Luke 17:5-10

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forest fires of the spirit?

"How long, O Lord? I cry for help but You do not listen!" —Habakkuk 1:2

Many of us are praying and complaining, as did the prophet Habakkuk, that our prayers are not being answered, that God is not helping us, and that we cannot continue in this way much longer. One of God's most frequent answers to this complaint is: "I remind you to stir into flame the gift" of the Holy Spirit (2 Tm 1:6).

We don't need the circumstances outside us to change as much as those inside. We have grieved the Holy Spirit through our sins (Eph 4:30). We have quenched the Spirit by giving in to fears (1 Thes 5:19), although "the Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit" (2 Tm 1:7). We must repent and live our Baptisms (Acts 2:38). Then we will see the smoldering remains of our life in the Spirit blaze into a blast furnace or even forest fire of life-changing grace and world-renewing love.

What the world needs is Christians fully alive in the Holy Spirit. We need nothing less or more than a new Pentecost. We need Christians docile to the Holy Spirit. We need Marian Christians who will invite the Spirit into their lives by saying: "I am the slave of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to Your word" (Lk 1:38, our transl). Quit complaining. Stir into flame the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:  Lord, "increase our faith" (Lk 17:5).

Promise:  "Guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit Who dwells within us." —2 Tm 1:14

Praise:  Praise our risen Lord, Who holds "the keys of death and the nether world" (Rv 1:18).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Don't Stifle the Spirit on audio AV 56-1 or video V-56.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, May 8, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 18, 2001