Breathe in me!

By Pedro Mendez


Medically speaking, respiratory distress is not an illness itself; but the symptom of a bigger problem. The underlying illness doesn’t allow the lungs to absorb enough oxygen and, therefore, the blood does not deliver this needed oxygen throughout the body. As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, I have been reflecting on those areas of my life that experience a “spiritual respiratory distress” caused by underlying spiritual illnesses that do not allow the Spirit of God to flow throughout my life.

The English word spirit is the translation of the Latin word spiritus and the Hebrew word ruah, both meaning wind or breath. The Spirit of God means the Wind or the Breath of God. It is not surprising that God’s Spirit at Pentecost is revealed with a strong wind (Acts 2: 1-2) or with the Risen Jesus breathing on his disciples locked in a room out of fear (John, 20: 1-23). In the Old Testament, the Wind of God was hovering over the face of the water before creation; and, in the remarkable vision of Ezekiel, God put his Breath on the dried bones so that they may live –symbolizing the restoration of God’s people from exile (Ez 37:1-14).

“Come Holy Spirit, Breathe in us O Lord!” is our prayer; it is supplication – personally and communally. Have we experienced a “spiritual respiratory distress” caused by one or several underlying spiritual illnesses? What if God had the following conversation with us. What would be our response?

“My son/daughter, I am trying to catch your attention to offer you my own life. Is there any area of your life you would like me to breathe in? I have no limits. Would you open the ‘windows and doors’ of those areas so that I can breathe in them? Would you stand before me and tell me you do not need my Breath? Is there any evil breath suffocating my Breath in you? I know your joys and blessings; but also your grief, fears, insecurities, struggles, illnesses, despair, worries, concerns, faith crises, and sins, even when you try to hide them. Is there a traumatic situation in your past that needs to be healed? Is there any relationship that needs to be reconciled? I know you completely, and still, I want to hear from you. Let me breathe my Breath in you, your family, your work, your city, and your country. What are the areas of your parish that need my Breath most? My promises are waiting to be fulfilled in you – I will put my Spirit (Breath) in you and you shall live (Ez 37:14).”

God longs to breathe in us! Would we allow him? Let me make a suggestion: Pray a Novena to the Holy Spirit as preparation for the Feast of Pentecost. Read the promises of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and their fulfillment in the New Testament and in our times. You can search those promises on the internet if you are not familiar with them. Spend times of solitude with God. Each day, review those areas of your life, your family, your marriage, your work and your parish that need God's breath most. In each area, make a simple prayer like this: “In your mercy, breathe in me (us) O Lord, fulfill in me (us) your promises,” or “Breathe in (this area) O Lord, make me whole.” Bonus: Include the Holy Rosary.

Remove any spiritual blockage that might be in the way of God’s Breath. If there is a mortal sin, do not despair; go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If there is an arrogant attitude, ask God for humility. If someone hurt you, including Church members, ask Jesus to help you to forgive them. If there is apathy, ask God to give you spiritual wisdom and renew your strength. Yes, remove anything that is in the way of God’s breath!

Breathe in me is my prayer; it is my supplication. Is it yours?

Pedro Mendez is a member of Evansville’s Good Shepherd Parish. Readers may contact him by email at: [email protected].