“The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD.” – Is 11:2
Archbishop Oscar Romero once said that “the Kingdom of God is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.” People call me an idealist, that I live in the clouds, that I am not practical enough. That I live in the “what if’s” and not in the “what is.” There is truth to this. There is a lot I need to learn to see what is real and not what I’d like to see.
Yet, picture of the idyllic paradise in Isaiah 11 is God’s promise that the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Jesus, the new Davidic king. The peace and harmony even among natural predators and their prey is a dramatic symbol the reconciliation and justice under this leadership: “The wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat … the baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea” (Is. 11:6, 8-9).
I may have my own way of envisioning how this new order might come about: young adults active in parishes; communities that care more for the least than the survival of the fittest; families that helps children find their true voice; leaders more concerned about the growth of those under their care than promoting the organization’s name or ideals. But knowing the how is less important than trusting in the who. The more I befriend God in moments of prayer, moments of letting go, moments of trust, the more I experience the spirit of the Lord resting in me. The more I am can accept difficulties and challenges, the more I can compassionately be with others, the more at peace I am. I remain the same, idealistic, perfectionistic, self-preoccupied self. Yet, I am less affected by my shadows. Somehow, I trust more in God’s dream beyond my vision, allowing God’s Spirit to work greater in my life.
Archbishop Romero was killed by the powers at be while celebrating Mass. His dream for a peaceful El Salvador or a church truly for the poor only began to emerge a decade later. It remains an ongoing, slow growing shoot. The Spirit of the Lord - that divine force given to individuals to enable fulfillment of missions otherwise beyond them - rests in him, as it rests on Jesus. That same spirit is promised to each of us. Wow!
Let us rest in God’s love and care. Take a few minutes, just stop, take 5 deep breaths and get in touch with an experience of being loved and cared for. Let’s allow the Spirit to pray through us.