In 1962, Pope John XXVI opened The Second Vatican Council with this image: “throw open the doors and windows of the Church to let in the fresh air.”
In 1979, Pope John Paul II, a champion of love for humanity, began to call for the “New Evangelization.”
In 2008, Pope Benedict XIV, deepening our understanding, began to call for the “New Pentecost.”
And in 2015, my pastor presented us with the following question: How have you encountered communion with God and others? My first thought was the sacraments – the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Marriage. My dear friend described how she recently gave a talk at a marriage conference with her spouse, and after that experience of publicly praising God and each other, she feels the bond between her and God and her and her husband is incredibly strong. With them as her rock, she feels unstoppable.
The work of the Holy Spirit came to the front of my mind as her words stuck with me over the next few hours…
There is something about verbalizing that creates communion.
What do we get when God speaks? Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God – our only way of communion with God.
What else do we get when God speaks? All Creation. The heavens and the earth were spoken into existence. (Gen 1)
How about the Great Commission, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16)
On the road to Emmaus, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”
Another big one – PRAYER! According to the Catechism, prayer is a battle against “the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God.” (CCC 2725)
The sacraments all involve very important words, “The Body and Blood of Christ,” “Amen,” “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” “I promise to be true to you in good times and bad.”
Someone wounded by abortion, abuse, or other evils can find true acceptance, communion, and healing because of the witness of others who have walked that path.
If your marriage is going through a difficult patch, the best advice I can give is keep talking, keep connecting, keep the bond intact.
When we verbalize faith in someone, affirming them, in truth and love, we are creating unity. If Jesus is the Verbalization of God, the Holy Spirit is the Unity! This is what makes for deep and lasting friendships and marriages.
Our pastor also said, if we love as God loves, no one should be afraid to come to us with the ‘stuff’ that is deep inside of them. They must know from our every action, “I forgive. I heal. I don’t hold anything against you. I know who you are and I choose you. I call you higher.” God has more good things to say about us than we do. Always leave room for what He has to say about you – it will always be deeply good, profoundly true, and incredibly beautiful.
So, channel your inner extrovert – get out there and CREATE communion. Through WORDS, tell people the good you see in them, especially your spouse. Tell them what you value about your relationship with them. Tell them how they bring you joy or make you think. Don’t let your mind dwell on their faults or sins. Affirm the light in them – God put it there – give Him glory by using your Creative Act of Speaking.