“Jesus, full of the Holy spirit, then returned from the Jordan and was conducted by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, where he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:1-2)
Have you ever watched a filled balloon when it has been set free? It travels without the slightest hesitation. Higher and higher it soars. During the flight it is unencumbered and can move wherever the winds take it. In fact, its destiny is totally determined by the wind.
On this first Sunday of Lent we hear that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and that he allowed himself to be led by that Spirit into the desert. Overflowing with God’s presence he was willing to stay for forty days in this barren landscape where he would come face to face with the devil. During this time he lives from the deepest part of his being. He learns lessons of surrender and survival and needs to ride out the turbulence of heart that only temptation can create. Like the balloon flying free Jesus depended on the winds of the Spirit to guide him during this sojourn in the desert.
Today as we enter the desert of the Lenten season we need to ask ourselves if we are equipped to make this forty day journey or will this simply be an exercise in frustration. Will we know at the depth of our being that we will survive this time of trial or will we be hesitant about the journey because our fears are paralyzing us?
People filled with the Holy Spirit are not controlled by their fears. They are not tethered to the ground by their addictions. Rather they soar beyond the power of the world and they depend on the strength of the Spirit to help them survive the storms of destruction.
If we want to know if our life is filled with the Spirit we need to simply ask ourselves if we know love deep in our hearts for love is the wind that upholds us and leads us where we dare not go. Being filled with this love is about knowing God as our Creator and embracing the fact that we are dependent on God for all our needs. This knowing is more than a feeling, more than a holy thought. Knowing God’s intimate love allows us the freedom to be risk takers and prophets, healers and teachers and faithful followers of the Spirit.
Sr. Janis Yaekel, ASC.