July 25, Saint James, Apostle
The strength of the Spirit
But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. 2Cor 4,7-15
What some men of God achieve in the life is so great that one cannot avoid to rejoice for the power of the Holy Spirit which animates them. Just think of Paul, Peter, Daniele Comboni, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the last Popes, to touch the fact that the Holy Spirit accomplishes extraordinary things using people who, when they were called by the Lord, were just normal people. ” I have the strength – Paul says – for everything through him who empowers me” (Phil. 4,13). It is the power of that treasure which, in the today reading, is contained in the “clay vessels”. For these people, where inside them the Lord works powerfully, everything is easy and difficult all at the same time, because the devil attempts everything possible for him to the purpose of the works of God being not carried on. There is, above all, a price to pay: “we are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body”. These are people who do never stop, do not ever break down, they are always standing, as the Misirizzi, a puppet with the rounded base, when we were kids, which had a piece of lead in the lower part such that it allowed it to return always in the vertical position, even if you tried to knock it down. They are invincible people, because they are animated by the Spirit of Christ and they work always at the service of others, with the result – as Paul says – that inside them the death constantly works and the life in the others. It is the same mystery of God who, in Jesus of Nazareth, gives himself on the cross to make it possible that, every day, we can live of a new life. If there was still the need for a proof that Jesus really is – as the centurion at the cross says – the Son of God, these people offer it every day, in every moment: in the actions, with the words, with the gestures, with the eyes and with their smile.