Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Quench Not

Did I just ignore the Holy Spirit?

1 Thessalonians 5:19

Quench not the Spirit.

I just prayed to the Holy Spirit before clicking on BibleDice.com to receive my random verse of Scripture. What good words to read! Go where the Spirit leads you, heed the Word of God, follow the call of the Lord as He brings you to the place where you’re supposed to be…. That all sounds good – but how?

Yesterday, while writing an assignment for a course I’m taking on the basics of Catholicism, I was reading the Gospel of St. John, chapter 6; specifically, the section that is often called “The Bread of Life Discourse”. I got to the part where the crowd first mumbles against what Jesus is telling them – and I skipped over it. As I was continuing to read, looking for the lines that I wanted to use in my assignment, I was thinking that there was something in that skipped over section that I wanted to read. What was the first point of complaint from the crowd? But, I ignored the wondering feeling and focused on the reason I had turned to John 6 in the first place. Although, in the back of my mind, I felt like I should educate myself and know what the opening grumbling was about, I thought, as I so often do, that I would get to it later.

Was I ignoring the voice of God calling me to a place to which He wanted me to go? Was I quenching the Spirit?

This afternoon, my father decided to listen to some recorded talks through his iPod while doing my chest percussion therapy. (Twice daily therapy where I lie on the bed and and get repeatedly and painlessly smacked on my chest wall and back with a cupped hand – the percussion and vibrations loosen any mucus that may be sticking to my lungs, thus keeping them as clear as possible.) The talks came from some CDs in the back of our church that are meant for anyone to take. I was glad to listen with him. One of the excerpted lectures was from Dr. Scott Hahn and the subject was… John 6. And I said to my dad, “I was just reading that yesterday!” Things like that happen a lot in life, don’t you find?

Anyway, he said many things that I had heard before. I found myself hoping that he would get to the part which says, “the flesh is of no avail, it is the Spirit that gives life. My words are spirit and life” (or something like that.) I always thought that these lines could be a way of showing that the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is wrong, that Jesus wasn’t speaking as plainly as he appeared to in the beginning of the discourse but, instead, it could all be understood as a call to feed off of his words. Thankfully, Dr. Hahn did get to that part and address that point very well – but not before he read aloud what the crowd was saying when they first mumbled against Jesus’s claims.

Jesus told them that he had come down from heaven to do the will of the Father. And they basically thought, “Who does this guy think he is?” They said amongst themselves, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?””[1]

This is where doubt first crept into their thinking. Jesus had said that they were only there because they were hungry and wanted some more free bread. And then he starts talking about how there are more important things for them to seek in life and mentions that he has come down from Heaven. And they’re thinking – What? His mother is Mary and his father is Joseph. He is just an ordinary man, just like everybody else. In an old-school way of saying, they thought that where he came from was Joseph’s loins. But… He didn’t. Their misunderstanding of Jesus and his words began here.

Did a man’s “flesh” give Jesus life? In other words, was he fathered through the flesh, Joseph’s biological son? No. The Bible says that Joseph did not father Jesus. Rather, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin named Mary. We can say that he was fathered by God, the Father, through the Spirit. The Spirit gave Jesus life. This means that his identity is not as an ordinary man. Fully human is he, yes, assuredly – and, also, fully divine. But the crowd didn’t know that. They didn’t see that. And even if he had told them outright, plainly, they would not have believed it. It was only later, when he rose from the dead, that things could become more clear. No wonder they were confused.

It is only as the Son of God, fully divine, that Jesus can say that his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink and that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has true life within him and will never perish. And it is only because he is God Incarnate, fully human, that he has flesh to give “for the life of the world.”[2] As Dr. Hahn said in the recorded lecture, it is Jesus’s resurrection that allows us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. The crowd couldn’t simply hack off his flesh and eat it as he was standing there talking to them about it. The power of God, the work of the Spirit, was needed in the raising of Jesus and the glorifying of his body, so that we may take and eat, and take and drink. Thus was Jesus given life, and thus can Jesus give life to the whole world.

I don’t want this writing of mine to be only a brief explanation of Scripture and doctrine. So, these last few minutes of this Burst will be employed in the use of the random piece of Scripture given to me today. I believe that God wanted me to read that section about Jesus being Joseph’s son yesterday and would have led me to a deeper understanding then. God knows that I have been wondering for years about Jesus’ reference to flesh versus spirit at the end of the Bread of Life discourse. But, I didn’t listen to the “still, small voice” yesterday, I ignored the prompting of the Spirit and walked away. God works in mysterious ways, however. As Albert Einstein said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Today, the very same part of Scripture was brought to me again. Would I “extinguish the Spirit” a second time? No. In fact, I was more prepared to listen attentively because of my brushing aside on the day before. And, so, in the end, God got through to me and told me what I needed to know. Following the Spirit, I was brought to the place where I was meant to be.

© 2015 Christina Chase

[1] John 6:42

[2] John 6:51

Arise, O LORD

Psalms 10:12

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.

We who are weary here, crushed

beneath the burden of our existence in the world,

who cannot lift our heads for the weight of sorrow…

Some of us mutter to ourselves of our own misery,

defeated by the darkness to spurn any talk of light,

so drenched in wallowing are we that only the sharp

cutting of our tongues (and other weapons) upon the happiness of others brings

us any unpained recognition of being alive – and we curse that, too.

And some of us, bowed down with sadness and fatigue,

still cast our sight, like fishing lures, for any bite of hope,

bobbing along the surface, waiting for the nibble of a small comfort, or,

if brave enough, diving into the deep, submerging

the whole breadth of our brokenness into the ocean of divine mercy,

to be swallowed up by a greater being than ourselves,

one that is quick and liquid ready and eternally alive…


Rise up, O Lord, and bring with thee from the depth of the waters

all who have given themselves over to faith in the gulf of hope,

all who have sunk down in their littleness and plunged into their wounds

so they may seek and discover the love that abides there –

not their own miseries, but thy joy and thy triumph!

Lift thy hand, oh God, and with it, the multitudes

who, in their weeping and wretched afflictions,

did not spurn thy name, nor destroy thy images,

nor deny the gift of hope though the world made a mockery,

but who, rather, cast into the deep and trusted thee in the swim.


The One who lit the stars and set them in motion,

who pulls the tides with light-reflecting orbs,

and teems the earth and every body with the rush of life,

this is the One from whom I draw my living

and in whom I will pour all my tears and laughter and blood –

though the world forsake me and taunt me with their miseries,

I shall not be overcome… for I am already drowning in love.


© 2014 Christina Chase


Good Stewards of the Manifold

The one thing of which you’ll never run out.

1 Peter 4:10                                                                   

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

We are finite creatures living in the limits of space time. We can only eat so much, only move so much, and only own so much. No more. But… How much can we love?

It seems that even in our ability to love there is a limit. We can love our family and our friends – but not our enemies. And yet, Christians are told precisely to do that. We can love our loved ones with our whole selves, as we may say – but, yet, we do not give of ourselves completely, for we believe that we must keep something in reserve for ourselves. If we have nothing for ourselves, what do we have to give? And yet, Christians are told to give the entirety of their beings, the entirety of their lives, to God and so, also, to the loving service of our fellow human beings. To love the Lord, our God, with all of our hearts, with all of our minds, with all of our strength, and with all of our souls, is to hold absolutely nothing in reserve for ourselves. But, surely, if we do that, we won’t be able to survive, right?

The wonder and beauty of love is that it is unlimited. Though we are, most certainly, limited creatures with limited abilities, true love, real love, is purely of God – who is perfectly unlimited. Because of our flawed nature, we can only open ourselves up so much to the reception of God’s love, which is always and everywhere pouring relentlessly upon everyone. But, even just a little bit of perfection goes a long way. It depends upon whether or not we are truly allowing, with the best of our abilities, God’s love to love us. To move us. To shape us. To feed us. To heal us. To guide us and guard us. To revolutionize us. God’s love is not something that we can own or even hold onto. God’s love, like the Holy Spirit, flows without ceasing. You can take a cup of water out of a stream, but, if you do so, that water is no longer a stream. If we hold on too tightly to the feeling of lovingness, it ceases to be loving.

I would like to feel always the warmth and peace that floods me in the rare moments of deep and grace filled prayer. However, the moment that I recognize the “feeling” and desire to keep it, the warmth and peace changes into a mere sensation and not the actual goodness of deep prayer itself. I’ve stolen water from the stream, if you will, and am disappointed to look down into my cup and realize that the stream is not in there. So, too, with love. When I love someone – (no, wait, when I am loving someone, for love is not something passive with which I should identify my relationships with certain people, so let me make it clear that love is a verb). When I am loving someone, God’s love is being received by me and flowing through me to the other. Love is eternal, so there is no stopping. Love is infinite, so there is no damming up.

This is why forgiveness is key in Christianity – because Christianity is most fully and completely about the receiving and giving of God’s love. If someone hurts us, we become less willing to engage in loving that person – and that’s a dam in the flow of divine love. Only forgiveness can break down the dam and restore the stream. Perhaps, it’s almost as though the hurt caused by the other leads us to think that we need more of God’s love for ourselves in order to make up for that hurt. But, of course, we can never receive more of God’s love. There is only one quantity of God’s love that we are given: all of it. This is why Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, surrenders his life completely on the Cross. We are to understand through his sacrifice, and to be reminded by every image of a crucifix, how much God loves us. Completely. As I told my nephews when they were very little, Jesus on the Cross is God’s way of telling us, “I love you thiiiis much” – and his hands hold no limit, they are pointing out infinitely. Our hands, too, must hold no limit, for, if we are truly to be loving, then we must give without ceasing. It is the flow of love that heals us, that binds every wound, and that gives us the joy and peace that mere survival cannot give. It is only through the flow of loving that we are fully human, fully alive – that we are fulfilled as the beings that we eternally are: images of God.

May all of us open our minds and our hearts to receive the love of God and, by so receiving, let us all be good stewards and give fully, wholeheartedly, of what we are being given. Let us give fully to God and not let the fear of the unknown or the limits of mere practicality impede the gift. This is how it should be. If what we call love is to really be love, then there can be nothing partial or part-time about it – no stops, no dams. By allowing God’s love to flow, we become beings who are loving all of God’s Creation, loving every thing, tiny or gargantuan, and loving everyone – because God does.


© Christina Chase 2014

All Rights Reserved

Written Not with Ink

2 Corinthians 3:3

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

The word of God is not merely to be written down, memorized and recited.  The word of God is to be lived.  Those who have never read or heard a single word of the Bible may know God’s word better than those who can deliver chapter and verse.  For the word of God is not a concept.  The word of God is not some thing.  The word of God is someone.  The Word of God is a Divine Person, is with God and is God, existing before time and space.  All of Creation came through the Word, and nothing exists without the Word.  Into particular time and space, through the Mystery of the Incarnation, the Word became flesh, assuming human nature and dwelling among us.  The Divine Person Who is the creating Word of God became a creature, became one of us.  This is Christ, the Lord.  And Christ, through the Paschal Mystery, gives the Holy Spirit to every human creature – freely gives the Spirit of the living God to all of us.

(But, do we receive?)  We are called to receive the Spirit, not merely with our ears or our eyes in spoken or in written words, but with our hearts.  Not so that we may merely “like” God’s Word, but so that we may truly love God’s Word and embrace the Divine Word in the deepest core of our beings, into the quiet sanctuary within ourselves, the sacred dwelling place that is the true heart of our lives.  Open to the Spirit of God, we are able to deeply understand truth and be transformed by truth: the truth of eternity, the truth of Creation, the truth of ourselves created, through the Word, in the image of God to know, love, and serve God in the fullness of truth.  We deeply understand, we know, not by grasping a concept, but by being in communion with God’s Word dwelling in our hearts.  Dwelling – not written, but living and breathing in us and through us.

God’s Word is given to every human being through the Holy Spirit – but not all of us willingly open ourselves to receive… for we can close ourselves in on ourselves through the self-centeredness of sin and, being hardhearted, fail to live truth, fail to live in the fullness of communion with God.  God’s Word Incarnate gives Himself, body, blood, soul and divinity, for every human being to save every human being from this failure.  In assuming our human nature, the Word Incarnate, Christ, the Lord, takes the lethal poison of our sins into His own flesh nailed onto the Cross.  God tastes death… pouring forth Divine Grace and sanctification in self-giving love.  And when the Incarnate Word rises from the dead, He raises all of us up with Him, our antidote of mercy, sharing His eternal life with us – when we willingly share our lives with Him and open our hearts to Him.  If we accept the Divine Word and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, then we become testimonies to God, proof of holiness, not written with ink or carved into stone, but living and breathing in, with, and through us.  From the sacred abode of our hearts, where we dwell together alone with God, to all of Creation and every one of our fellow human beings – we send forth the Word of God: Love.

And, so, I say that even if someone has never read or heard the words of the Bible – even if someone has never been properly introduced to Jesus Christ – that someone can still know the Divine Word, Who is Truth, Who is Love, Who is God in Whose image every human is created.  Open to the Spirit of the living God, every person, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, or Sikh, can be faithful to the creating Divine Word, living lives of self-giving love, striving for truth, reflecting God into the world.  And if those who have not been properly introduced to Christ encounter Him through someone who has been saved into fullness by receiving Him fully, then the growing intimacy with the Divine Word Incarnate that they will experience will become the deepest blessing, the most sacred understanding, the fullest salvation – the fulfillment of their lives.

May I , in the sacred dwelling place of my heart, marry with the Word and bear forth the fruit of Divine Love so that all the world may also deeply know and love the Divine Incarnate One.

I am an epistle…

Christina Chase