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The Groove of the Spirit

Fr. George Smiga
May 19, 2013
John 14: 15 – 16, 23b -26

We all know what it’s like. It is one of the best experiences of life. We all know what it’s like. But we use different words to describe it. Sometimes we say that we have “found our groove.” Other times we say that we have “entered the flow.” We are describing a time when everything works exactly as it should, when everything is right, when everything clicks. Now, you do not find your groove without some effort. You do not enter the flow without planning to do so. But what sets these particular experiences apart is that when they happen they are effortless. They come to us not as something we have planned but as a surprise, perhaps even as a gift.

We decide to refinish our grandmother’s rocking chair and it comes out perfectly. We stand looking at it and realize that it is a beautiful reminder of the person we loved. We have been working at it for months, but suddenly our golf swing gets stronger (and at long last) straighter. We plan a simple day with the family at the beach and everything turns out perfectly: the weather, the conversation, the fun. It becomes a day that we will always remember. We have been working for days on a social studies paper and suddenly it comes together. We sit down and write something that was better than we could have imagined. We face a difficult conversation with a teenage daughter or son. But when we have it, it works. We leave feeling we understand one another a little better.

Now we could have tried to do all these things many times before, but this time we are in the flow. We know we are not doing anything different this time. In fact, in some sense we are not doing it. It is doing us. We do not so much find the flow as have the flow find us and then carry us along with it.

Now from the aspect of faith these moments of finding the groove have a strong connection to today’s gospel. Because in the gospel, Jesus says that if we love him and follow his commands he and the Father will come and dwell within us. Jesus is not promising to look out for us or to guide our lives from afar. He is saying that he and the Father will actually live within us and through the gift of the Holy Spirit—whose presence we celebrate today—our lives will mesh with the very life of God. When we connect to that power of God within us, we enter the flow. We begin to understand that life is not simply about developing our powers and abilities but allowing the power of God to flow through us.

So finding the groove is not so much about doing as about tuning. How do we tune our life so as to allow the power of God to play through us? How do we in our relationships, in our work, and in our projects, find out what we need to do more or less of in order to hit the sweet spot of living? We may need to be more active and organized or we might need to be more open and trusting. We might grow by being more active and assertive or by being more deferential or humble. It might benefit us to do more research and critical thinking or to be more imaginative and hopeful. We must strive to find the balance in our life that allows the power of God that is within us to come out.

Now I’m not saying that if we find this balance that we will always get an ‘A’ on our social studies paper or have a perfect golf swing. But, I am saying that we will understand ourselves and relationship to God in a deeper way. We will understand that the joy of living is not something we attain solely on our own power but through our connection with the God who lives within us. When we connect to that power, we enter the flow of God’s love. Finding that groove is fundamental grace. Because when the love of God flows through us, we have discovered the best way to live.

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