From the desk of Fr Stephen
Last week I went out to the driving range to hit some golf balls. It was a very hot, muggy day and I was outside for about forty minutes hitting balls. After a few minutes, I began to sweat and was soaking wet when I finished. During this time, it became a little harder to breathe. It’s amazing how a little heat and humidity can change how you feel. The air we breathe is what keeps us alive and we can’t go longer than a couple of minutes without it. I remembered, at that time, thinking about George Floyd screaming out that he could not breathe until his life was snuffed out. I remember thinking about the COVID pandemic going on and how over 100,000 people have died, most of them not being able to breathe. Suffocating to death does not sound like a pleasant way to go.
When a woman has a baby, one of the first things that must happen is that the baby must take a breath. Very often, this breath comes when the baby begins to cry and so everyone in the delivery room is literally holding their breath until that baby finally takes its first breath. It is only then that everyone can breathe again.
When God created Adam and Eve, he breathed the breath of life into them. Not only did he breathe into them so that they could breathe physically, but he breathed into them his Spirit of spiritual life. Adam and Eve breathe the beautiful fresh air in the Garden of Eden, but they also breathed God’s grace into their souls. They were, at that time, so pure and holy. They were created in God’s image and were as close to him then as they would ever be again. What a beautiful thing this was.
As we know, Adam and Eve sinned and, when they sinned, they were no longer allowed in Paradise. They had cut themselves off from the Breath of God. They were now going to die physically, and they were also dying spiritually. Into the picture comes Jesus, the Son of God, The Most Holy Redeemer. Jesus, as Redeemer, has come to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation.
The Redemptorist Congregation takes on this name of the Most Holy Redeemer. It’s a beautiful name, and it is only because of the love of Jesus that he can win our salvation. What Jesus has done is to give us our breath back. There have been many instances in my life that I have had the wind knocked out of me. All I can do when this happens is to curl up in a little ball and wait for that breath to come. It is not pleasant, but eventually, my breath comes. Because of the Love of Jesus, our spiritual life has also come back. He has knocked down the barrier of sin and breathed his life of love back into us. Thank you, Jesus.