"...do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." – Mt. 10:19-20

I tend to underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. As I reflect on this past year, I am moved to remember all the moments I have been asked to speak about the ways grace has worked in my heart – moments when all I could do was rely on the Father to provide his Spirit to give me courage not only to speak openly about my wounds, my weaknesses, and my failures, but also the courage to embrace my gifts, my humanity, and my freedom.

As I allow myself to sit with all these memories, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and praise for a Spirit who would be so generous, gentle, fierce, and forgiving. In this place of gratitude, I find myself with a desire to share my own verse, drawing on my experiences of encounters with him:

Wick & Wildfire

He arrives unexplained,
unheard, unseen
a tender touch
my understanding of the presence within,
that is both wick and wildfire

He is an urgency,
invitation and offering
my idea of love,
and proclaiming Himself
the Life-Giver in all splendor

From my lungs he pulls
a profession of faith,
clothed in nuances of my humanity

Raw, abrupt, and glorious

and the space where He rests,
depths between mystery and beauty
silent and awaiting my own desire
to beckon His.

Today we remember St. Stephen, deacon and martyr. I cannot help but be drawn to his willingness to offer his life to God without reserve. In this offering he understood the power of the Spirit within him – power which gave him not only the courage to proclaim the Truth of Christ, but also the freedom to sacrifice his entire self for it. I imagine that this Saint felt both the invitation and the offering as coming from the same experience of Love, one that matched his own. I can only hope that I allow this same Spirit to make me bold enough to embrace whatever God asks of my life, that I may witness to His power in all the moments still to come.

Lord, as I enter more fully into this Christmas season, help me surrender to your promptings both great and small. Help me recognize your Holy Spirit working in my life and open myself to the graces he desires for me.

Sandra Loera