The world looms large in Jesus prayer today. “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.”
World here is not world as cosmos, that created reality fashioned in goodness by an all good God. Nor is it the complex network of relationships that sustain the cosmos in unity, love and purpose.
Rather, “the notion of ‘world’ serves to unmask the demonic universe of refusal and rejection” (Quoted by Francis Martin, “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me,” The New Evangelization, 67). The world is everything in the culture, society, the economy, education, our personalities that resists the God who comes to us in love, friendship, grace and as Lord of the Universe. It is that fundamental inclination within us, as already witnessed in the garden of Eden, that declares our independence from any need for a god outside ourselves. The world insists on finding all meaning within itself, apart from its source and summit, the living God.
This is the ‘demonic energy’ that Jesus intercedes against for us. Jesus prays that our lives might be held in an essential receptivity to the self-revealing God. He prays that we not close in on ourselves because of the aggressive response of the world to such receptivity to transcendence.
Here again the Spirit plays his essential role for us. “The witnessing action of the Spirit consists in the activity by which he brings us into living contact with Jesus, who, forever fixed in the act of love in which he died, is the abiding Revelation of the Father, and as such is the Truth. The action of the Holy Spirit takes place in the Church through the liturgy and the sacraments, by his direct action in the souls of the believers, and…by the ‘works’ of the disciples in their own witness to the truth” (Ibid., 64).
How does the world act upon me to keep me from trusting God? What are the pressures I feel to find my purpose and happiness in what I can do and acquire by my own resources? Are there times of fear in my life that keep me from living faith, fear flowing from the sense that the world is greater than God?
Let us pray:
Holy and divine Spirit!
Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your spouse,
bring the fullness of Your gifts into our hearts.
Comforted and strengthened by You,
may we live according to Your Will
and may we die praising Your infinite mercy.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.