Recently, I went to Starbucks, B.C. (before COVID-19), to get a cup of my favorite brew. By chance, I found myself standing in line with a friend of mine from Good Shepherd. We struck up a conversation about this and that when, out of the blue, she asked me, “If God asked you to boil down all this religion stuff and simply make one statement that describes what you have been hoping to become, what would that one idea be?” After picking my jaw up from the floor where it had dropped, I got my coffee and sat down with her. For what seemed like a long time (actually about a minute), I sat in silence just thinking of all that I had experienced over a lifetime of 80 years. What I realized was that I was not thinking of her statement as much as why she was prompted to make such an out-of-character statement at all. As we talked, I told her how astonished I was that she had asked me that question because it was the very one I had been struggling with in my Lectio Divina that very morning. I have known the answer to the question she asked since 1962, when I began to accept Christ as my center, the one principle of purpose for whatever life throws at me each day. It was and is Philippians 2:5-12. “Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” What actually gave me goosebumps was that there was a dimension to this I had never experienced before in quite the same way.  I told her that I had recognized and experienced the Holy Spirit as speaking just to me through her question. I also told her that I had thought of how Christ and Peter had a similar exchange. (I told you this was a long minute.)

Listen profoundly to that encounter between Our Master and a disciple, Peter. Read Matthew 16 slowly, for three-time, each time slower than before. What is the Holy Spirit telling you? Slow down. Listen profoundly!

Peter’s Confession About Jesus.

13 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

20 Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.”

When I got up from our coffee break, I thanked her for allowing me to see the Holy Spirit through her. I think we both became a little more humble that day and ended with the prayer:

Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –the Cistercian doxology

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