May 24, 2023, 6:00 AM

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. I Corinthians 12:12

It is the Power of the Holy Spirit that makes all of us, as members of the Body, one. It has been so since the beginning of creation when the Spirit moved on the face of the waters from which all life originated. Since the beginning of time, fragmentation has been the focus and emphasis of this world. While making things whole has always been ongoing in God’s universe, too often we see the world as simply coming apart. This is most noticeable in wars, political movements, acts of violence, pandemics, and corporate greed. We wait for someone to push the fractured world (and our lives) back together again. We wait for a rescuer.

St. Francis saw the world as everything belonging together and in a constant movement of coming together, not coming apart. For him, God forgot no one and nothing was excluded or left behind. In God’s creation, all separation is momentary. Christ demonstrated overcoming fragmentation as a way of salvation. St. Francis’ vision developed as he stood outside the establishment of his day which attempted to seduce him into a “fragmentation mentality.” His work and the work of his followers was to rejoin the fractured remnants of the world (e.g., in rebuilding the church in San Damiano and also the fractured relationships between people).

The Power to rejoin disparate pieces becomes clear in the outpouring of God’s self in the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. After Jesus disappeared into heaven, his followers were waiting in prayer for something to happen. Like us who wait in prayer for something to heal the ache of our fragmented lives, the disciples were ready because of the receptivity found in contemplative prayer.

The power that they experienced on that 50th day after the resurrection was nothing like the world had ever experienced. They were filled with the power or energy of God – energy to tell their stories about what Christ did for them, power to risk speaking in another language, vigor to move beyond their daily fears about being with other people, and boldness to let their true being in Christ burn like tongues of fire.

What the followers of Christ experienced was not being joined together with Christ as in a legal agreement, but they were “conjoined.” The Power of the Holy Spirit allows us to enter into relationship with Christ where we become one and the same. That “conjoining” has the power to overcome the fragmentation that the world expounds.

As a society, we are “glued” to electronic devices. We think that this is communication. However, this may be one of the greatest deceptions of our time. Electronic devices project an illusion of connection, and cover up the fragmented nature of our less than perfect relationships. The Power of the Holy Spirit is true intimacy.

It is easy to forget that the Power of the Holy Spirit is still fully present today. She is found in the quietness of Eucharist or Holy Communion moving in intimate and often unrecognized ways. Here people stop jabbering, listen with their ears, open their mouths, and taste the bread and the wine from the cup of salvation. In these ritualized moments, the Holy Spirit announces that she is again being “conjoined” with us through Christ. We are changed, conjoined, and once again, made anew in this fragmented world.

Blessings and Prayers,

Fr. John