Breath of God // The Wild Goose – Segment #2

Breath of God // The Wild Goose – Segment #2

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I’m in a replica of
the ancient Roman catacombs. It’s in the Franciscan
monastery in Washington DC. The catacombs are an important
part of the church’s history. You see, the early Christians would
come down here in these cold, damp, dark places for lots of reasons. One of the reasons they
would come down to pray, but they would also come down
because they were full of fear. Fear of what the authorities would do
if they were found to be Christian. And it’s also, I think,
the catacombs are a symbol for many people of the spiritual life, is if
they were to use words that describe their spiritual life,
it would be words like dark, stagnant, trapped, cold and
it’s not supposed to be that way. But the other thing about
being in the catacombs, like every different alcove in
the catacombs, there would be bones. And that reminded them, the spiritual life isn’t supposed
to be lived in the catacombs. The spiritual life isn’t supposed
to be lived surrounded by bones. And yet,
sometimes I think we feel like that. That’s why I love,
actually this particular image, it’s the image of Ezekiel and
it’s in the Valley of Dry Bones. The spiritual life isn’t
supposed to be lived underground. It’s not supposed to be
lived in darkness or in a catacomb rather the spiritual life
is supposed to be lived in the light. I love reflecting on the 10th chapter
of John, when Jesus says I have come so that you may have life to the fullest and
people will say to me, it’s, like, Father Dave,
I just don’t feel like I’m living that. I don’t feel like I’m
living life to the fullest. I don’t feel like that I’m
living what Jesus had in mind. I mean,
when Jesus said have life to the fullest, I don’t think that’s
what I’m experiencing. I had someone say to me one time,
when Jesus was going to the cross and in all that was going to
come from that amazing act, he said to me, I don’t think my spiritual
life is what Jesus had in mind. He said I feel dry, I feel stagnant. I feel there’s no life in me,
that there has to be something more.>>Well as I looked back,
as I was ordained as a priest, I mean, I believed in the Holy Spirit. I believed in the Father,
Son, Holy Spirit. It was easy for
me to relate to the Father. It was easy to relate to Jesus. And I just had a sort of perfunctory
relationship with the Holy Spirit. But I realized after five years of
ordination that something was missing in my life. I felt a hole in my heart,
an emptiness in my heart. And when I felt that was missing was,
I wasn’t with God wanted me to be. I wasn’t living the way
God wanted me to live. And so I cried out to the Lord,
what is missing Lord? What is missing? It was at that time there was a priest
that was coming to town that I was in ad he came and gave us a two hour
presentation on the Holy Spirit, and the Acts of the Apostles and
the Pentecost experience. And I knew then,
that that’s what was missing in my life, the Lordship of Jesus Christ and
the power of the Holy Spirit.>>There has to be something more, and I
get people saying that to me all the time, that there has to be something
more in their spiritual life. And I think the disciples probably
were experiencing that same feeling. I mean I’ve often said the excitement
disciples had the best, I mean they got to be with Jesus. You would think they had
every advantage in the world. They got to see Jesus raise from the dead. I mean that would be cool to be
able to see somebody raise from the dead by Jesus himself. And who catechized? Who taught them the faith? I mean Jesus did. My guess is Jesus could get a job as
a catechist in almost any parish. Who taught them how to preach,
how to forgive, how to love? I mean, they had every advantage. And yet, after his death and resurrection,
and before the sending of the Holy Spirit, where do we find them? We find them in a locked room. A couple of years ago I wrote a book and
the title is Spiritual Freedom. But in this particular chapter,
I was talking the holy spirit and I ran this by a lot of theologians because
what I said is Jesus isn’t enough. And there’s just something about
that that just seems awkward. Well what do do you mean Jesus isn’t
enough, of course he’s enough. And I shared this with theologians, and
they said well, of course you’re right. That God is trying,
that Jesus shows himself and reveals himself to us, but
there’s also something more than that. There’s also God who reveals
himself to his father as Jesus but also the Holy Spirit. So the disciples who had every advantage
of seeing all of these amazing things and being with Jesus, still where
we find them after his death and resurrection is in a locked room. I think that’s where a lot of people’s
spiritual life is, is in this locked room. And the spiritual life was never
supposed to be lived in a locked room. Scripture says that the room was locked,
the doors were locked, out of fear. And I think that’s a lot of our
experiences, is that we feel trapped and dry and stagnant and
all these kinds of things, and there has to be something more and
I think the disciples experienced that.>>I prayed for the full release of the
gifts of the Holy Spirit in my own life. I prayed that Jesus would be the Lord of
my life that total surrender my life to the Lord and I began to realize how
my life changed as in ministry. How God just allowed me to see
ministry in a whole different way. And I came to be and appreciate the luxury
of Jesus and the role of the Holy Spirit. And so, looking back,
I believe, I may be wrong, I believe that if that had not happened
to me, I may not be a priest today, because I would’ve probably
become a very angry, critical, negative, judgmental priest. And I always said it in a similar way,
the one thing I don’t want to be as I would become an older priest is
a critical, negative, judgmental priest. And so I really asked God
to reveal what was missing. When he did, I realized that was it. And my life has changed since then.>>The Holy Spirit was present and I had
been baptized, not only with water, but with the Holy Spirit. He was in me. He was transforming me and being present. It was awesome. Almost too much. Almost like, Lord, can you please
take this presence of yourself away? I had in my minds eye, this idea of
the huge dove of the Holy Spirit following me around, over me, for three days. Literally I could see it in my minds eye. Like, everybody I encountered,
I just saw them in a new way. This newness of life was real, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was
almost too much for my heart to bear.>>So we looked at the scriptures
in the Acts of the Apostles when the disciples first
experienced the Holy Spirit. The scriptures are really powerful. It says that while they were meeting,
Jesus joined on them and he said go to Jerusalem and
wait for the promise of the Father. When Jesus speaks about waiting for
the promise of the Father, while they may not have realized it, he was referencing what he had said
earlier in the 11th chapter of Luke. And that is if you then, who are wicked, know how to give good
gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in Heaven give
the Holy Spirit for those who ask him? So he says go and wait for
the promise and the Father. That emptiness, that fear that you have,
that’s not always gonna be that way, it doesn’t have to be that way. So then we go into scriptures. And the next chapter and
the second chapter of Act. And honestly, it’s a scene that’s
familiar to all of us, we’ve heard it so many times. But imagine this,
that they’re in this room. The doors are locked. They’re frightened because they don’t want
the same thing that happened to Jesus to happen to them. So they’re frightened and
in the midst of that, in Acts of the Apostles it says a strong,
driving wind comes through. And imagine what that must have,
probably scared them for a moment because ever creak makes them
nervous and a strong, driving wind and then the Scripture says tongues of fire. I mean, that must have been remarkable. Tongues of fire are falling from heaven,
and how great and how amazing that would be. If I was God, and
that should frighten everybody. If you have nothing else to thank God for,
thank him that I’m not God, because I would not be a good God,
I would be a mean God, a lot more smiting. But if I was God,
there would be a lot more fire. I mean,
there would be fire with every sacrament. We’re celebrating mass, as soon as the
bread breaks, fire would come flying down. I mean, marriage, as soon as they
give vows, fire would come down. Baptism, I don’t know
exactly how that would work. But there would be more fire if I was God,
huh? Well, the Scripture says tongues of
fire were falling down upon them. And then it goes on to say, and
the crowd was astounded and amazed. Well, of course they were,
seeing this amazing event. Because something happened in that
room that changed the disciples. And that same something has to happen
to you and it has to happen to me. That I experience the Holy Spirit that
changes me, that I don’t live my spiritual life in this room afraid, rather I live my
spiritual life in front of the world and engaging the world alive, full of joy and
presence of God and power. Whatever happened to those
disciples needs to happen to me. It needs to happen to you. The tongues of fire and
the power of God coming upon us.>>The Holy Spirit is in us but
really our experience of Him is different because He’s always
filling us in a fresh way. Definitely not just a one shot deal. I mean, the idea of the Holy Spirit coming
as a singular event is definitely not so. Cuz there’s one Baptism in the spirit,
but there’s many fillings. Cuz the Holy Spirit fills us over and
over again. And I can think about all of the times
that I got filled in a different way. And I’m looking forward to what the Lord
will do in the future, frankly. Because sometimes it’s like we
think we have an event, and it’s so profound that,
well nothing ever will be like it. But God is always drawing us in deeper,
but the Holy Spirit is always
drawing us in deeper. He’s always creative in the way
that he draws us in, and presents himself to us in a deep way.>>But here’s the thing. It’s gonna look different. It’s not going to look exactly
the same for everybody. That’s one of the reasons I love when you
take a look at the 20th chapter of John. And because there once again Jesus
sends the Holy Spirit upon them, but this time it’s different. The Scripture says, 20th chapter,
when the doors were locked, where the Disciples were for
fear, Jesus came and stood in their midst and
said to them peace be with you. Imagine that for a second. They’re frightened that the same thing
that happened to Jesus who they placed all of their hope in was
gonna to happen to them. Their hearts are broken, and I don’t think we can understand
the sense of despair and Jesus comes to them and
he says, peace, peace. It’s this reminder for us that the peace
isn’t just an absence of something, rather peace is a presence of something. Peace is a presence of someone and
in the midst of that Jesus comes and he says to them, peace. And the next thing he does is he says
that he showed his hands on his side. They see his wounds and they see the wounds to remind them to make
absolutely certain that this is Jesus, because the last thing they had
heard was Jesus was crucified. So he shows the wounds and
then he says, once again, a second time, peace be with you. As if to remind you, and
to remind me in the midst of suffering, in the midst of pain,
in the midst of cross, in the midst of blood,
there’s still peace. I’m here, peace. And finally, Jesus says to them,
as the Father has sent me. So, I send you. And when he said this,
he breathed on them, and he said, receive the Holy Spirit. No tongues of fire,
no driving wind, just peace. Peace and a breath, he breathed. And that breath of God changed them. Jesus’s peace changed them. You see, in Acts of the Apostles,
the crowd was amazed, there’s no sense of amazement in this. Maybe crowds need the fire,
tongues of fire to be amazed, but Disciples, Disciples of Jesus,
are amazed and changed by a simple breath.>>Think, there was a time when I used
to think life in the Spirit was for big moments. In terms of making vocational decisions or
receiving a big assignment or something and being faithful to that. And that is certainly true, but
I think the longer I’m in religious life, the more I’m realizing that life in
the Spirit is really about the details, you know, being faithful to our Lord and
the small things. And I really experienced
this this past year. I had been asked a few years ago to learn a foreign language to be
a missionary in a foreign land. And when I first received that
assignment I went straight to the Acts of the Apostles and
I was thinking and praying about Act I, Verse 8 says that you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you’ll be my witnesses to
all the ends of the Earth. So I was thinking, here we go, Lord. This is what I was made for, to go be
this missionary to these foreign people, and your spirit is gonna fill me and
it’s gonna be great. And that’s all true, but
once I got over to that foreign land and was speaking this foreign language,
and all of my comfort zone was gone. It was a real opportunity for
me to say come Holy Spirit and the daily little things.>>You see that breath of God is
actually all throughout the scriptures. We find in the second chapter of
Genesis that God is creating humanity. It says,
then God formed man out of the dust. So there’s just this great,
beautiful image of God reaching down and taking this dust and forming humanity,
and forming our arms and our legs. And then the scripture says, That God took humanity from the ground and
blew in his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living being. I love the intimacy of that,
that God takes this, at the time, a lifeless body and
He brings him to Himself. And He breathes life. He says, breathes into his nostrils. He breathes life into him. I mean, in my life that’s been my story so
many times that this lifeless. And I mean I feel like a body walking
around but there’s nothing alive in me. And the spirit of Jesus breathes life,
the spirit of God breathes life into us. Job experienced the exactly
the same things. Job says, for
the spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the almighty gives me life. Or that scene from Ezekiel where Ezekiel
is sitting over this big valley and the valley is full of dried bones. And who hasn’t felt like dried
bones at one time or another? And God says, what can give life to
these and Ezekiel’s like I don’t know, you’re God, you tell me. And God says, Ezekiel,
breathe life into these bones. And over these bones,
the spirit of God moves through Ezekiel. And he breathes life. And the bones begin to rattle and
come to life. That’s my story, it’s your story is
that each one of us at one time or another has been this
experience of dry bones. And God wants to breathe life
into the dryness of our heart, breathe life into the fear of my heart. Breathe life into my past that so oftentimes doesn’t let me to be radically
alive because I feel trapped by my past. Or whatever it is, that room that we feel
trapped in, anger and frustration and hurt and regret and sinfulness and
brokeness and all of that. Breathe life into that, Lord. Because I can’t do this by myself. I can’t be faithful to you by myself. I can’t love my spouse by my own
strength and by my own power. Breathe life into me so
that I might be radically alive. So that I might experience
the fullness that you have for me.>>It was such a radical
change of who I was and what I was striving for or what I
thought I needed to be striving for.>>What were you striving for?>>Oh, I was striving for perfection. I was striving for
what appeared to be on the outside. A beautiful marriage and
high achieving children and a beautiful house and showing up for
mass on every Sunday. I had always had such control of my life. I could always figure
a way out of anything. It was really the first time
I couldn’t do it and so I can remember in the car saying,
all right God, you really did it. You put me in a position where
I’ve got nothing but you.>>So the Holy Spirit leads
you to this place that the only option,
>>Yes.>>The only option you have
is either to count on Him and trust in Him or crash and burn.>>Yeah and surrender. The only option you have is to
absolutely surrender to Him.>>We have to be ready for a sense of being overwhelmed. Some of the things the Holy Spirit
will lead us to will be very simple. Anybody could say them. Some things will be so
big and beyond what we, you know ever imagined that we’d
wonder where it came from. And so it’s just uncertain tension there, that you can’t just put
the Holy Spirit into a box or a package of some sort and say, oh now
it’s the spirit’s chance to speak or do. Now the Holy Spirit will come forth in power as God wants him. Come forth in power.>>But the reality is so oftentimes
I talk about the Holy Spirit and people will come up to me and
say father, I’ve never heard this. It’s like the text from
the Acts of the Apostles. The Scripture says, Paul was traveling
through the interior of the country, and he came down to Ephesus and
he found the disciples. He said to them, did you receive
the Holy Spirit when you became believers? They answered him, we have never even
had even heard of the Holy Spirit. I think this is a lot of people’s story. I mean, maybe they have this vague
idea of the Holy Spirit confirmation, dove, that kind of thing. But this Holy Spirit that comes empowered. This Holy Spirit that comes
with the breath of life. That simply isn’t a lot
of people’s experience. More times than I care to remember
people have come up to me and they said, Father Dave,
I’ve never heard of such a thing. That’s tragic. That’s tragic. What each one of us needs is
the Holy Spirit to breath life into us. We can’t do this. I cannot live this life by myself. You need the breath of God. I need the breath of God. So, here’s my challenge. Here’s my invitation for you today. Let’s say five time. Five times to just take a moment and stop. Just take a breath. Literally asking the spirit
of God to breath into you. Breath life into you. I always had this single
decade rosary with me. And what I’m often times saying
is I’m often just praying, come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit. I made this deal with God, every time these beads go through my
fingers my prayer is come Holy Spirit. So here’s my invitation to you,
five times today, stop take a breath and
just ten times say, come Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit. And just do that ten times and then go on
and a little bit later stop, do that ten more times, and just each time just
say breathe life into these dry bones. And now the other thing is. Say ten minutes in the next couple of
days, just take a moment or two and read the first and
second of Acts of the Apostles or the 20th chapter of John that speaks
of the sending of the Holy Spirit. And my invitation is to you is,
if you’ve got the guts, pray, Jesus, do the same thing to me that
you did to the disciples. Do the same thing, may I have that
same encounter, that same experience, that same power, that same fire,
that same breath of God. What you did to them do to me. Jesus I give you permission to breathe
life, breathe life into this heart. Into this soul that longs for
you, that longs for more. Breathe life. My god,
I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit. With the spirit of Jesus,
we breathe life into you. And may almighty God bless you,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

10 thoughts on “Breath of God // The Wild Goose – Segment #2”

  1. Father: ….. incredible….. great challenges… which i look forward to … during lent…. peace be with you……

  2. This was so enlightening, gives us so much to accept by challenging us to surrender to the Holy Spirit, to take that breath and open our minds and life to accept what Jesus wants us to do. It is so easy to maintain control and so difficult to surrender. Praying this Lent that the Holy Spirit will guide me.

  3. Blessed Blessed talk…we are called to live a life of fullness in the power of Holyspirit. Breathe life Lord into our hearts…

  4. very nice fr dave i believe your have found what the irish called the wild goose in ireland you have come full circle and have greeted the spirit of god which is a consuming all powerful spirit jamietulsaok

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