Editor's note:

What bet­ter way to acknowl­edge the Lord in all our ways” than to open up space for the Holy Spir­it to dwell with­in us — direct­ing us, cor­rect­ing us, strength­en­ing us, show­ing us how to love?

The Incar­na­tion­al Tra­di­tion has the aspect of coop­er­at­ing with God so as to let the pow­er and life of God flow through us, [and] we become the per­son he cre­at­ed us to be and God becomes known to the world through us.” An infu­sion of the Holy Spir­it will unite what was divid­ed and bring har­mo­ny to discord. 

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from A Spiritual Formation Workbook

[The] Holy Spir­it dwells in the chil­dren of God, and his pres­ence is nec­es­sary for us to prac­tice the Tra­di­tions. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true of the Incar­na­tion­al Tradition.

As phys­i­cal beings we find it easy to focus on the mate­r­i­al — the things we can see and touch. We need food to live and we enjoy eat­ing. Our bod­ies get cold so we buy clothes. When we hit our thumb with a ham­mer, it hurts until we take a painkiller. Because we are sen­tient beings, every­thing we know about our­selves, oth­er peo­ple, and our world comes through our sens­es. We are mat­ter our­selves, so we per­ceive mat­ter easily. 

This presents a huge prob­lem when we start explor­ing the world of the spir­it. We can­not smell, taste, touch, see, or hear the spir­i­tu­al, so we hes­i­tate to believe it is real. We rel­e­gate it to a spe­cial cat­e­go­ry, a pigeon­hole,” allow­ing it out only on spe­cial holy” days or when we have a spe­cif­ic need (such as a need for phys­i­cal healing). 

The Holy Spir­it helps us over­come this dis­uni­ty by pro­mot­ing the har­mo­ny of the phys­i­cal and the spir­i­tu­al. At their cre­ation, Adam and Eve’s bod­ies and spir­its were in per­fect har­mo­ny. But at the fall, their bod­ies took charge and start­ed war­ring with their spir­its. The apos­tle Paul clear­ly describes this prob­lem when he exclaims, For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15b). In his book Mir­a­cles, C. S. Lewis describes this con­di­tion as estrange­ment” and envi­sions a day when nature and Spir­it are ful­ly har­monised — when Spir­it rides nature so per­fect­ly that the two togeth­er make rather a Cen­taur than a mount­ed knight” (p. 161). 

The pri­ma­ry means that the Holy Spir­it uses to heal this estrange­ment is our prac­tice of the spir­i­tu­al dis­ci­plines. When we fast, we are telling our body that mat­ters of the spir­it are impor­tant. Serv­ing anoth­er per­son puts his or her needs ahead of ours. In sim­plic­i­ty we are freed from the tyran­ny of always get­ting our own way. Wor­ship reminds us that we are dust.” The spir­i­tu­al dis­ci­plines put our bod­ies in a place where God can work his good­ness into us and bring har­mo­ny into our lives.

And when our bod­ies and our spir­its start to come back into har­mo­ny, we do away with cat­e­gories. We eas­i­ly move between reli­gious and every­day activ­i­ties, treat­ing them as of equal val­ue because God is present in both. And all that we say, all that we do, all that we are becomes a means to make God’s pres­ence real to those around us. 

When our life is a seam­less gar­ment,” we are free to reveal God to the world. Whol­ly avail­able to God, we become his rep­re­sen­ta­tive, his emis­sary, and he does his work through us. Our mind becomes the mind of God help­ing his chil­dren under­stand his love. Our hands become the hands of Jesus nurs­ing the sick. Our voice becomes the voice of Christ pro­claim­ing the good news of the king­dom of God. Our arms become the arms of the Holy Spir­it lov­ing the sin­ner uncon­di­tion­al­ly. As we let the pow­er and life of God flow through us, we become the per­son he cre­at­ed us to be and God becomes known to the world through us. 

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