Do you Smell Something?
Today’s reading is from 2 Corinthians 2:15: For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
The devotional focused on our spiritual smell. It is based on the idea that our hearts give off a spiritual scent. It seems a bit strange, but I think it is a deeply biblical idea. I am a freak when it comes to smells. In the devotional guide, I asked, “Have ever walking into somebody’s house with cats?” This is a reference to something I said during one of my less than tactful moments. I walked into a friend’s house (for the first time) and it smelled like cats. Without thinking, I opened my mouth and said, “Tim, your house stinks.” (Sorry Tim!) I still regret my embarrassing comment, but the smell of cat was a bit overwhelming.
Smells are strong and our hearts give off a certain kind of odor – either the smell of life or the smell of death. One of the actions of the Holy Spirit is to anoint our hearts to give of the smell of life—the aroma of Christ. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is often described as the empowerment of the Spirit. This idea of anointing as perfume is a bit different, but I think is a good metaphor the describes what the Spirit does in making us holy. Holiness is not a matter of us doing the right things. Holiness is something that we receives as a gracious gift from the Spirit.
This idea came from Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who has written the best book on the Holy Spirit that I have ever read. Fr. Cantalamessa was the has been the “Preacher to the Papal Household” since 1980. He was hand selected by the Pope to his personal preacher. This is a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. For those of us in the Protestant branch of the church, this would be like Billy Graham asking you to live in his house and do devotions for him and Ruth! Fr. Cantalamessa has also been an active part of the Catholic charismatic renewal. The book that he wrote on the Holy Spirit in 2003 is called Come Creator Spirit. I highly recommend this book. There are some people that may avoid it because it comes from a Catholic writer, but I did not find anything that was theologically offensive. It is thoroughly biblical and well-written. It caused me to want to pursue my understand and experience of the Spirit with renewed vigor.
Let me end today’s blog with a great quote from Fr. Cantalamessa:
Our great need today is a new openness, a new readiness to approach the Holy Spirit, a reawakened longing for the Spirit. Now that we have knowledge enough to explore the immernse horizons of cosmic space in one direction and subatomic particles in the other direction, only the Holy Spirit can give human kind that sustenance of soul, that love which will prevent our humanity for shriveling up althogether as a result of ur own knowledge. Only the Holy Spirit’s help will make us a ble to use our technical knowledge not to destroy but to humanixe our planet and improve the lot in life of every person.
Come Creator Spirit pg. 269
Come Holy Spirit come!