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Make it a Double


“A good man doubles the length of his existence; to have lived so as to look back with pleasure on our past existence is to live twice.” ~ Martial

We bid farewell to a storied biblical figure in today’s 1st Reading (2 Kings 2:1, 6-14) as the prophet Elijah is dramatically whisked away in a horse-drawn chariot of fire while engaged in a farewell conversation with his beloved young understudy Elisha.

“Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you,” Elijah urges his heir apparent, displaying uncanny prescience in his kind offer to the intrepid and unflappable Elisha. “May I receive a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replies, a request that the Lord would indeed grant, as the aforementioned flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

“Less is more!” proclaim the self-help gurus with confident glee as they stuff this and other well-worn clichés into their latest self-help books. On matters pertaining to the spirit however, the young Elisha knew better. As we follow his exploits in the days ahead by way of the 2nd Book of Kings, we will see that he was indeed correct.

To have a portion of a person’s spirit in those times would be akin to receiving something of a “spiritual inheritance” from them. Elijah was a spiritual father to Elisha and a man filled with the Holy Spirit. Upon receiving this double dose of spiritual strength, he knew he’d be more than well-equipped to take on the challenges and overcome the obstacles that were sure to present themselves.

In tomorrow’s 1st Reading from the beginning of the 48th Chapter of Sirach (48:1-14), the byproduct of this double portioned spirit is revealed. In the closing words of this passage, this Ode to Elijah if you will, we come to learn that Elisha, “filled with the twofold portion of his spirit, wrought many marvels by his mere word. During his lifetime he feared no one, nor was any man able to intimidate his will.Nothing was beyond his power; beneath him flesh was brought back into the life. In the life he performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds.”

Fortitude, grit, confidence….perseverance. Do you think that these spiritual gifts might be useful for a Christian in the year 2022, especially in light of the recent threats by abortion enthusiasts to attack and “reign hell” down upon Catholic Churches and its members as “Catholic” Politicians sit idly by should the Cobb decision not go their way? Or as parents do battle against school boards who seek to indoctrinate their children with transgenderism and other nutty ideologies?

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Saint Paul encourages us to earnestly desire and pursue spiritual gifts from the Lord. To pray for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Fruits of the Spirit too, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and long suffering. Receipt of the former guarantees the latter. To exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit in your day-to-day life is to possess the character of Jesus.

These attributes keep us pure while assisting us in our ongoing pursuit of holiness. Through them, we grow to emulate even in small ways the charity exhibited by the likes of Saint Anthony of Padua We become courageous defenders of the truth like Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions We love like Our Mother

An increase in the gifts of the spirit allows us to be like our Lord, which is what he desires of us. We align our hearts to that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we reflect upon and commemorate during the month of June and will celebrate liturgically in less than two weeks To be conformed to the heart of Jesus in all that we say and certainly all that we do is to become a Saint.

So pray always for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. And in the spirit of the Prophet Elisha, ask God to make it a double.

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