More and more people are having their DNA analyzed to learn about their ancestry. Perhaps it would be interesting to have your SLI analyzed, that is your Spiritual Life Influences—no swabbing required!
Let’s start with your name. Maybe you were named in honor of a certain saint—if not your first name, your middle name. If that is so, have you been mindful of that particular saint in your spiritual life? I have prayed and asked St. Anne to intercede for me occasionally; Anne is my middle name.
Have your godparents been present to you in your spiritual development? Conversely, have you prayed for your godparents and their spiritual welfare? Baptism is such an important beginning, the sacrament that makes us spotless members of the Body of Christ. Unless administered in a case of emergency, this sacrament is accompanied with joy and family unity.
Do you recall the teachers who prepared you for your first Holy Communion? Although it was very long ago, I still remember old Mother Bernadette who taught me all about sanctifying grace and how I have to be careful not to lose it! She was quite a forceful character when I was in second grade, but I am grateful for her instruction.
Which saint did you choose as your confirmation patron saint? Did you feel the presence of that saint, along with your confirmation sponsor on the day the Holy Spirit filled you with very special spiritual gifts? I am sure your special saint remains ready to assist you in your spiritual journey. I praise and ask our Blessed Mother’s help often, since Mary is my confirmation saint.
If you are married, you chose two extra special witnesses for the sacrament of matrimony, besides the priest or deacon who was the official church witness. Most likely these witnesses were full of wishes for a blessed wedded life for you. They became participants in your sacramental history, while you may not have been thinking about spirituality primarily on that big day. They are part of your SLI to some extent.
You may have had a spiritual director or some companions, teachers, or pastors who have spiritually influenced you in your life. Perhaps you have been on a religious retreat at which someone said something that has made a significant difference in how you pray or think. It is good to remember these special people—-maybe make a list—- and offer up some thank-you prayers.
And now, how many times have you been a witness to a life-changing spiritual happening? The communion of saints joins you in witnessing the changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus at every Mass you attend. I like to imagine sitting at the Last Supper table with the apostles who witnessed so many of Jesus’ miracles. This miracle of transubstantiation is an everyday gift that Jesus left us to experience even after His resurrection. It positively alters our SLI every time we receive our Lord in Holy Communion.
As witnesses to the good news of God’s Kingdom, take comfort in Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth. (NRSV)
Let’s be good witnesses, sponsors and, hopefully someday, saints!
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.
Scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.