Reflection: Living in the Spirit

By Father Chris Thomas

I once met a Pentecostal minister who told me of his encounter with Christ and the very deep conviction he held, because of that experience, that he was loved. He told me that nothing he had done or would do in the future would change that. It was as though the scales had been taken off his eyes and he could finally see. It was a moment of grace. The Spirit had unlocked within him the capacity that is God-given to know the power of love deep within us and all around us.
Every day is an invitation to see again the truth of the presence of God. Every day is an invitation to plug into the eternal moment of grace. If you haven’t asked the Spirit to unlock within you your potential to grow into the mystery of God with us, then do it because it brings life you can never imagine in your wildest dreams. Ask God to unlock within you the power of the Spirit so that you can see more clearly the God who is everywhere. The Spirit calls to new sight and awareness, whether our awakening be a process or the product of an isolated event.
I am reminded of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. If you look at the letters of Saint Paul, you’ll discover just how important his conversion experience was for him. Paul was a member of the temple police, delegated to destroy the Christians which he did with great commitment. Then his Damascus Road experience happened. Paul met the risen Jesus and, more than anything else, he became aware that despite the fact he was a murderer and a bigot who had got it all wrong, he was loved by God. Eventually he returned to Damascus a transformed man. 
Real conversion changes the way we see and do things. It turns the world upside down. Paul’s experience and subsequent change leave us with a real question to consider. Have we really been converted? How can we tell if we’ve been converted or are being converted? Maybe some of the points that follow might be an indication. Converted people know that God is present with us. Conversion leads you to the truth that God is everywhere and therefore everything is held in awe. Converted people don’t need to protect themselves because they’ve given themselves away. There is no self-image to protect. Converted people know that they’re not worthy and yet at the same time have a worthiness that can't be gained or lost because we are sons and daughters of God. Converted people know that everything is a miracle because, after conversion, the hand of God is seen in everything that happens.  

When I was reflecting on some of those points, I began to realise yet again that we’re called to conversion every day because none of us have ever arrived. We all need to experience transformation in so many ways. The Good News is that we’re not alone on the journey. God is with us and will give us all we need daily to become converted people. Maybe constant conversion is what it means to live in the Spirit.