On Friday, Pope Francis touched on how the Holy Spirit is the breath of the Christian life:
Praise is the “breath” which gives us life, because it is intimacy with God, an intimacy that grows through daily praise. Some time ago I heard an example of this which seems very appropriate: the way that people breathe. Breathing is made up of two stages: inhaling, the intake of air, and exhaling, the letting out of this air. The spiritual life is fed, nourished, by prayer and is expressed outwardly through mission: inhaling—prayer—and exhaling.
When we inhale, by prayer, we receive the fresh air of the Holy Spirit. When exhaling this air, we announce Jesus Christ risen by the same Spirit. No one can live without breathing. It is the same for the Christian: without praise and mission there is no Christian life.
If our worship doesn’t lead us out into the world, we aren’t truly breathing, we’re just filling ourselves up with hot air, puffed up with our own importance. But so too, if we don’t breathe in the Spirit of life, we’ll have nothing to share with anyone. We’ll just be old windbags, wheezing on about the same old problems.
Clearly, this is not what we’re going for.
At the same time, our job isn’t make our prayer of praise or our gospel mission “do” what we want it to do. Our worship isn’t our any own any more than our mission is our own.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Our task is simply to let the Spirit do His work in us: to let go of our fear and pride and simply breathe. We were made to be filled with and transformed by the Spirit of God — if only we will let Him do His work.
Trust that God knows what He is doing.We don’t have to always know what is happening or how it’s all going to turn out. That’s His business. Ours is simply to receive the Spirit Christ breathes on us from the Father (cf. John 20:21-22). This is the breathe of life. This is freedom in the Spirit.
The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Co 3:17-18)
Breathe in the Spirit.
Breathe out the Spirit.