Last week during prayer time, I was reading the Daily reading from the 2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy. The situation here is that Paul is in prison in Rome and he knows that his execution is not far off. He cares deeply for Timothy who he taught in Corinth when he was preaching there and is now writing to him to encourage him in preaching the Gospel.
As I was reading, this statement really struck a chord with me:
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control. 2 Tm 1: 3.
If ever there was a time when we needed to be the best version of ourselves, this is one of those times given the difficulties of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our country and , most recently, dealing with the terrible death of George Floyd while in the custody of the police in Minneapolis. We will certainly need to rely on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the short term in order to get through these difficulties and to help our brothers and sisters to do the same. And rely on the Spirit again to build a healthier and safer society for everyone in the long term. With God’s help, we can do this!
The excellent Meditation from the Word Among Us that was issued that day (June 3rd) is included below:
TODAY’S MEDITATION: 2 TIMOTHY 1:1-3, 6-12
A spirit . . . of power and love and self-control . . . (2 Timothy 1:7)
Do you ever feel a little anxious when you look at the state of the world? That’s probably how Paul’s young friend, Timothy, felt. It appears he was naturally reserved, since Paul advised the Corinthians to “see that he is without fear in your company” if Timothy came to visit (1 Corinthians 16:10). It looks like he might have been a worrier too since Paul counsels him to drink a little wine for his stomach ailments (1 Timothy 5:23).
But Paul’s best advice comes in today’s reading. He encourages Timothy to “stir into flame” the gift of the Holy Spirit that he received at his baptism (2 Timothy 1:6). That’s the same Holy Spirit that you received at your baptism. It’s the same Spirit who gave you the same gifts of power and love and self-control when you were confirmed. What do these gifts look like?
Paul reminds Timothy that this power comes from God. It’s not dependent on “our works but according to . . . the grace bestowed on us in Christ” (2 Timothy 1:9). And because it comes from God, this power can make us brave and unashamed: brave enough to offer to pray with a friend who is hurting. Brave enough to share our faith with a family member who is struggling. Brave enough to turn away from gossip and to change the tone of a negative conversation.
The Spirit also helps us to love. He helps us to lift up each child of God, not just the ones we find attractive, but also the ones who try our patience or who rub us the wrong way. That’s because the Spirit has poured the unconditional love of God into our hearts (Romans 5:5). As we believe in and experience that love, we let go of divisive thoughts, and we become more free to care for the people around us.
Finally, the self-control that comes from the Holy Spirit enables us to rise above our fears and to harness our inner drives. It helps us turn aside from harmful thoughts and overcome old habits that threaten to trip us up.
Power, love, and self-control. These are gifts from the Spirit to you. This is your heritage. Step out in faith and try them out!
“Jesus, thank you for the generous gifts you have given me through your Holy Spirit!”