Living by the Spirit of God



“Behold, you desire true sincerity, and secretly you teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:8-9).

There are seven Penitential Psalms in Scripture. My favorite is Psalm 51, which David wrote after the Prophet Nathan revealed the King’s sinful behavior. David is praying for the removal of his personal sin and the social disorder it created. This beautiful Psalm is perfect for Lent as we prepare a contrite heart for the Lord. We practice sacrifices and offerings during these 40 days to wipe our slates clean so that we may be closer to God.

Our nearness to God brings joy; and hopefully, our actions will influence others to avoid anything that might separate them from God. The matter of sin is not a welcome conversation. No one is comfortable hearing that his or her actions are offensive to God. Our societal views regarding the teachings of Christ are sometimes misleading. How will people understand they have offended God if there is not a Prophet Nathan in their life? When you share truth lovingly, people see the mercy of God working here on earth. The feelings of family members and friends may get hurt, but saving a soul is a greater glory to God! Lent is more about offerings than sacrifices!

Jesus spoke about “childlike faith” as being filled with obedience, humility and love. I find the honesty of my grandchildren to be a joy, and very humbling at times too. Their willingness to ask the tough questions is refreshing. We have been studying the sacraments from their Catechism this month. Much like most little guys between the ages of 5 and 8, they love all things Lego. My five-year-old grandson asked if I would check to see if Lego made a church/Mass kit. Well, sure enough, I found a “Father Leopold Celebrates Mass” kit, and “Father John Hears Confession” kit, from the St. Patrick’s Guild website. The two sets are fun teaching aids. They provide opportunities to name the sacred items used for Mass and explain the process of preparing for Reconciliation.

My grandsons were excited to see that the Mass kit included a Lectionary Book and a Book of Gospels, an ambo, tabernacle, hosts, sanctuary light, and everything Father Leopold needs to offer Holy Mass – complete with colored vestments for each liturgical season. They put the Lego bricks together and arranged their church sanctuary. They giggled because the people preparing for confession had a very serious face, but as they leave the confessional you turn the face around to see a big smile. I was pleased with my purchase because I could see their enthusiasm and understanding of these great sacraments come to life as they built and played with the Lego Church set.

I believe our religion class with Lego bricks was exactly what Jesus meant when he talked about being like little children. Our Catholic faith is full of sacred mysteries, but truth in the teachings and traditions of the Church should not be kept secret. During this Lent, please share your faith with those you love – especially people who may not understand the mysteries in the Deposit of Faith.

A new generation is always eagerly waiting for this gift of knowledge. In so many ways, we are all priests, prophets and kings! Our duty, much like the Prophet Nathan, is to be honest when truth needs to be shared! Saving souls puts smiles on faces and helps us live by the Spirit of God! Amen!