Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born* from above.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’
The wind* blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Our friend Louis had asked me to prepare a short presentation on the passage of John 3:1-8 for last Saturday. I prepared myself to spend some time with it and wondered what word or expression would touch me.
Before I started praying this passage, I asked for the grace to hear what the Spirit of Godde wanted to tell me.
I read the passage slowly a first time to get acquainted with it. Then I read it again underlining the words speaking to me. It is when I got to the end that I felt my heart skip a beat:
Verse 8 — The wind blows where it will, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
Born of the Spirit
What can I say about it to those who would be coming to our Ignatian Way day…
St Paul wrote, “the love of Godde has been poured out in the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Rom 5.5)
I received the Spirit with my Baptism. It is divine love poured in my heart. It prays in me and with me. It is closer to me than I am to myself.
As a child, the story of Pentecost and the coming down of tongues of fire on the heads of all the disciples gathered in the upper room seized my imagination. How did it feel? What did it do?
One experiences the holy Spirit throughout one’s life. I find it easier to notice it as I grow older. As I look back at my life, I can now recognize those sudden moments of light when my heart is uplifted by a joy I cannot explain.
It may happen when walking in the countryside, talking with someone, working alone in the garden or in the kitchen, watching the news and being moved by a story.
I discover the presence of the Spirit when I thought my heart was going to break; when I came face to face with myself, as good as I would ever get, nevertheless loved infinitely by the Infinite; when a source of happiness is taken away, helping me encounter the Source of joy itself.
The Spirit led Jesus into the desert, and so I must not be afraid when the same happens to me, a time when I am stripped of all that I like to think I am — to discover what Godde wants me to see in me: a reflection of his Son.
When time comes to close my time of prayer, I have a heart to heart talk with Jesus, about my hope and dream to serve Him for the greater glory of Godde. I listen to what He has to say.
I make sure I spend a minute or two more than the 20 or 30 mns decided upon. I thank God for what I was shown and I finish with Ignatius’ prayer,
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
Finally I jot down in my diary some notes on my time of prayer.
And you, which word or expression is touching you? Which word is wanting to spending time with you?
Photo: View from the Castle of Bossey on the Lake Geneva and the Alps