FAITH AND CULTURE | Resilience in the Spirit

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In our culture, it's fairly common to move from one job or career to the next. The average person is accustomed to reinventing himself or herself to accommodate the demands of an ever-changing world. We know the importance of updating and upgrading our work skills and status. We network and share gifts and talents, especially with those who might ease our transition from one work environment to the next.

While certain professional careers provide some level of stability, the idea of staying in one place for a long time is becoming less appealing, less advantageous and a thing of the past. Many of us have family and friends who not only have opted to make a career change or job transfer but have done so at great personal cost, trusting that the renewal will be beneficial.

As with many experiences of change and transition, the push-and-pull factors are many and varied. For some, migrating to a new job or career can be as intimate as wanting to align personal talents and values with an organization's mission and priorities; or as pragmatic as adjusting to the company's move to a new geographical location. Individual reasons aside, there's something appealing and true about the human spirit's ability to be receptive, flexible and willing to readjust one's vision and course of action.

This human resilience and propensity to adapt to changing circumstances finds a home in our faith lives. As a Catholic community, we're a people on the move and in need of constant renewal (Isaiah 43:18). We trust that being a pilgrim Church isn't just a fancy metaphor, but a real way of being open to the diverse movements of the Spirit of God in our hearts (Revelations 21:5). And in our personal spiritualty, we seek to revive our presence in and for the world, knowing that the Spirit will guide us every step of the way: "For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God" (1 Corinthians 2: 6-10).

Some people struggle with being open to the scrutiny or search of the Spirit of God. We don't readily see with the eyes of faith and hastily close ourselves up. Or we resist the gifts of the Spirit and remain in our own complacency and indifference. Rather than allow the Spirit of God to guide us to new horizons, we tighten our grip and trust our own ways. The flexibility and generosity of spirit is stifled and succumbs to rigidity and timidity.

Yet, we know that if we remain faithful and open to the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives, much good will be gained. In personal discernment and commitment to the Church, we see how the gifts of the Spirit guide our paths and enliven our lives. And, even more to the point, by opening ourselves to the Spirit of God, we more readily move to a place of shared mission with and for others — going beyond isolation to a more robust experience of a culture of encounter and mutual edification: "The particular manifestation of the Spirit granted to each on is to be used for the general good" (1 Corinthians 12: 7).

Let us freely open our hearts to the Spirt of God today.

Orozco is executive director of Intercultural and Interreligious Affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. 

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