Sharing Freely Our Knowledge
Often we think that we do not know enough to be able to teach others. We might even become hesitant to tell others what we know, out of fear that we won’t have anything left to say when we are asked for more.
This mind-set makes us anxious, secretive, possessive, and self-conscious. But when we have the courage to share freely with others all that we know, whenever they ask for it, we soon discover that we know a lot more than we thought. It is only by giving generously from the well of our knowledge that we discover how deep that well is.
Emptiness and Fullness
Emptiness and fullness at first seem complete opposites. But in the spiritual life they are not. In the spiritual life we find the fulfillment of our deepest desires by becoming empty for God.
We must empty the cups of our lives completely to be able to receive the fullness of life from God. Jesus lived this on the cross. The moment of complete emptiness and complete fullness became the same. When he had given all away to his Abba, his dear Father, he cried out, “It is fulfilled (John 19:30). He who was lifted up on the cross was also lifted into the resurrection. He who had emptied and humbled himself was raised up and “given the name above all other names” (see Philippians 2:7-9). Let us keep listening to Jesus’ question: “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22).
The Breath of God Within Us
When we speak about the Holy Spirit, we speak about the breath of God breathing in us. The Greek word for “spirit” is pneuma, which means “breath.” We are seldom aware of our breathing. It is so essential for life that we only think about it when something is wrong with it.
The Spirit of God is like our breath. God’s spirit is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. We might not often be aware of it, but without it we cannot live a “spiritual life.” It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy. It is the Holy Spirit who offers us the life that death cannot destroy. Let us always pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, come.”
The Unfinished Business of Forgiveness
What makes us cling to life even when it is time to “move on”? Is it our unfinished business? Sometimes we cling to life because we have not yet been able to say, “I forgive you, and I ask for your forgiveness.” When we have forgiven those who have hurt us and asked forgiveness from those we have hurt, a new freedom emerges. It is the freedom to move on.
When Jesus was dying he prayed for those who had nailed him to the cross: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). That prayer set him free to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
~From Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith