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Monday, May 26, 2003

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St. Philip Neri

Acts 16:11-15
Psalm 149
John 15:26—16:4

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know spirit — no fear

"When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of truth Who comes from the Father — and Whom I Myself will send from the Father — He will bear witness on My behalf." —John 15:26

The Holy Spirit bears witness on behalf of Jesus, and those who live in the Spirit must "also witness" (Jn 15:27, our transl). To witness for the risen Jesus is beyond human power. That is why Jesus' witnesses must receive the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

It is both liberating and fearsome to do something beyond our human powers. For example, if Jesus gave you power to walk on water, would you be afraid to take your first steps? Life in the Spirit is by definition beyond our understanding and in some ways beyond our control. This can be a problem for those who base their security on controlling some of the circumstances of life. The Holy Spirit gives us both the occasions to feel fear and the faith to overcome fears.

Moreover, if Jesus' witnesses are struggling with the dynamics of witnessing in the Holy Spirit, imagine how threatened the worldly become in the face of the Holy Spirit Who proves them wrong (Jn 16:8). It is easy to see why the Greek word translated "witness" also can be translated "martyr." So even if Jesus' witnesses are not fearful of the Holy Spirit, they are strongly tempted to be fearful of the world in its fear of the Spirit.

Do not fear the Holy Spirit. Do not fear the fearful. Be a witness for Jesus, "for the Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit"  (2 Tm 1:7). Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Father, may love in the Spirit leave no room for fear in my life (see 1 Jn 4:18).

Promise:  "The Lord opened her heart." —Acts 16:14

Praise:  St. Philip Neri often spoke to people on street corners in Rome about Jesus. One time thirty young men came to ridicule him. Jesus touched their hearts through Philip and they were all converted to faith.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, October 17, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2002