"A lay Catholic perspective"

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Growing in Fellowship

by John Lewis


I HAVE ENJOYED many years in the electrical engineering field, so I should know electricity when I see it. However in all those years I have not seen a jot or tittle of electricity. Nevertheless I believe that electricity exists. Its presence can be felt and demonstrated. Religion was never my cup of tea; it all seemed rather irrelevant. My early religious experience consisted of memorizing answers to questions that I had neither asked nor really cared about. I was not opposed to religion, I just was not interested. So it came as a bit of a surprise to find some people who thought that religion was interesting; and who were actually excited. Here is where the fellowship of the Holy Spirit entered into my life. Truly, his presence can be felt and demonstrated.

The "duty roster" then works out such that Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ provides the grace. God the Father supplies the love and the Holy Spirit provides the fellowship. It all comes from God so it must be very good and must lead to the unity that Jesus prayed for. I believe this to be the case, yet there seems to be a problem, as I do not love everyone equally. The problem is not in the giver but in the recipient. Here I am Lord. The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is wonderful and enjoyable. How good it is for us to come together in obedience to God's will and rejoice in His company. I suppose that when I think of fellowship I think of a crowd, a convening of the faithful. Certainly it would be better if that old man would quit eyeing all the girls, if that loud mouth would quit yacking, and the leader could stand a tad of humility, and I hope that guy does not hit me up for money as he probably wants to buy drugs. Sometimes I wonder who appointed me the deputy accuser of the brethren. And only God knows what the women are up to. With thoughts like that I have to thank the Holy Spirit for fellowship. We could not do it alone.

Fellowship is also one to one, for me the more frightening type. I think of the people I have avoided, the ones I have hurt, and the ones I have betrayed. I speak when silence would be in order; I am silent when I should speak up. Then there are the long embarrassing silences of my mind going blank. Deep down I am really an unsociable hermit, for me the sin is pride. Lord have mercy. I don't know what your sin is but I recommend that you don't throw the first stone.

The fellowship of the Holy Spirit always seems to be accompanied by suffering, at least in this world. The Creator saw his angels take a fall. Jesus went to the cross with only his mother Mary, John, the other Mary and the good thief with him. But through the cross, Jesus breaks down the barriers that keep us apart and enables us to sincerely offer this prayer: "May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with y'all."