February 20, 2017
Christ teaches us that we must be born again through water and the Holy Spirit to take part in the Kingdom of God. And water and Spirit appear whenever God renews.
At the beginning of Creation, God set water over the earth, and the spirit hovered over it. When God made a new covenant with humanity through Noah, He covered the earth with water, and Noah sent out a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, who came back to the ark carrying an olive branch in its beak, indicating they had reached land anew. When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, he led them through the waters of the Red Sea beneath a pillar of fire, symbol of the Holy Spirit, Who comes in the shape of fire. The prophet Jeremiah wrote that God would make a new covenant by cleansing you with pure water and putting a new spirit in you. When Christ was baptized by St. John the Baptist, he was baptized with water, and the Holy Spirit came down on Him in the form of a dove. And so when we join the Catholic Church, we are baptized with water and Spirit.
I went out for dinner with some close friends on Sunday night. We don’t normally talk about religion. But tonight, we did, because they have all learned about my blog. They are at various distances from the Catholic Church in which their families were brought up. They challenged me with fruitful questions about the teachings of Christ and the Church. We had a wonderful dialogue and listened to one another. I answered all of their questions.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, the place was packed. So one of the waitresses asked a couple politely if they wouldn’t mind moving to a smaller table to make room for us.
The restaurant was a small Italian pizzeria, the same one where I had found a brown scapular after giving a medal of the sacred heart of Jesus to someone who had fallen away from Christ Jesus, of which I have written elsewhere on this blog.
We talked and the conversation became very animated and passionate, but remained as between brothers and friends.
Towards the end of dinner, when the conversation was really heating up, we were all parched, so I took it upon myself to pour us all water from the blue glass bottle of water, the shape of a wine bottle, that had been set down at our table. And then I thought, “yes Spirit, of course you have us consume water now, as the conversation really comes around to being about Christ, and when it comes time for me to defend Him and Your Church. The bottle quickly ran out and our waitress promptly replaced it as we all drank our glasses of water. But now, the new one she set down before us was of a different shape. Like the last one, it was made of blue glass, but it had a smoother shape to it. Whereas the previous bottle was squared off at the shoulders, as it were, like a standard bottle of wine, this one had a smoother shape, where its shoulders as it were slanted downward. As I looked at it, it reminded me of the Virgin Mary, standing with her arms outstretched as she normally does, dressed in blue, as she normally is. I privately thought, “yes Mary, you are with us too, bringing us closer to your son, Jesus Christ.”
While we discussed Christ’s and the Church’s teachings, I noticed something perched on the wall behind us. We were seated two across from two, and two among us had our back against the wall, while I and another one among us were facing the wall. It was a pewter statuette of an angel that hung dignifiedly against the wall looking down on us. Without drawing any attention to it, I quickly looked around the restaurant to see if there were any other religious symbols in this small restaurant, or if we were the only ones that sat near one. There were no others, and we were the only ones.
This angel, a symbol as it were of the Holy Spirit, looked down on us from a seat we didn’t choose but were given.
With water and Spirit we were coming closer to Christ in conversation.