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Thursday, January 7, 1999

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St. Raymond of Penyafort

1 John 4:19—5:4
Psalm 72
Luke 4:14-22

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movements of the spirit

"Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee." —Luke 4:14

Jesus inaugurated His public ministry by proclaiming: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me" (Lk 4:18). In the Spirit, Jesus preached, prophesied, taught, healed, and delivered many people from the evil one. He called us, His followers, to do the same. He even promised that we would do greater works than He did (Jn 14:12).

Many Christians in our secular humanistic culture doubt whether they can have such power in the Spirit. They don't see great conversions, healings, and deliverances. Their experiences, or lack of experiences, seem to prove the Bible wrong. Yet what if our experiences, not the Bible, are wrong and woefully limited?

Before Jesus manifested such great power in the Spirit, the Spirit had already performed two other works in His life. At the River Jordan, the Spirit descended on Jesus (Mk 1:10) and cried out in His heart, "Abba" ("Father") (Gal 4:6). Then, affirmed as the beloved, favored Son of God, Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:1). To receive the power of the Spirit, we must first go with the Spirit into the waters of the Jordan River and then into the desert. There we will know deeply the Father's personal love for us. Then we will receive the power of the Spirit to be like Jesus. This Sunday, on the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, receive the first movement of the Spirit.

Prayer:  Father, in a deeper way give me the Holy Spirit, the only true Christmas Spirit.

Promise:  "We, for our part, love because He first loved us." —1 Jn 4:19

Praise:  St. Raymond prayed: "May you never be numbered among those whose house is peaceful, quiet, and free from care, those on whom the Lord's chastisement does not descend."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, June 11, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 20, 1998