That’s the Spirit! by Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

A most wonderful insight came to me as I listened to a man with PhDs in Philosophy, Theology and Psychology relate the intricacies of the human being.  I was lucky in this.  With all his degrees, he still spoke in the words of the neighborhood, not the classroom.  It was easy to understand.

One of the things he said was that we separate things too much.  We try to categorize and sort things that should not be separated.  Then he went on to explain.

We believe that God created the Earth and all that is in it.  We also believe that God is everywhere…in the farthest reaches of the universe, in the deepest cavern or tunnel, under the highest mountain.  More importantly, God is all around us at every second.  That will never change.

The expression of God’s presence is made visible through our own human experiences.  We do not have to look for visions or miracles.  In fact if we just look, we will see visions and miracles every day.

Let’s take the truth of the Spirit.  We use the word in many ways.  When we speak of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, we usually capitalize the word Spirit.  But we also use the word in the small “s” sense.  “Her spirits are down today.”  “School spirit is at an all time high.”  “That’s the spirit, Anna!”  “Let’s try to raise the spirit of hospitality in our parish.”

My friend the professor would say, “There is no such thing as a small “s” Spirit.  If we think about what we are saying, we will soon recognize that fact that all the small “s” spirits are simply an expression of the capital “S” Spirit.

It is only a tiny amount, to be sure.  But it brought home to me how small I am, and how insignificant my actions.  Some people may say that we are reducing the Spirit to the human level.  I turn the telescope the other way.  I think we are looking at human activity from God’s point of view.

This means that something in the school spirit we feel is part of the Spirit of God.  Raising the spirit of hospitality would surely lend itself to opening ourselves to the Spirit, since Jesus told us, “Whatever you do for the least, you do for me.”

And if “my spirits are down” isn’t it possible that the Spirit is what is missing in me?  And when we say “That’s the spirit?” is it not the Spirit that energizes all we do?

For myself, I have too often focused only on the Father and the Son.  Now I am awakened to the constant activity of the Spirit in my life.  In fact I see more clearly: the whole world is under the Spirit’s wing!

God bless my friend, the professor!

Peace, joy, and everything good,

S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF


The Oldenburg Franciscan Center and Convent are located in Oldenburg, IN.  Visit our website or call/write for directions!  Individuals and groups are always welcome to make retreats!  Also, you are welcome to join the Sisters for Mass in the Convent Chapel at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday or at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.
812-933-6437 / 


Sr. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF has a background in education, child development, and family ministries.  She has worked as a teacher, school administrator, and as Director of Family Life Services for two dioceses.  Sr. Sharonlu has long been an advocate for children and puts her heart into helping parents build and sustain healthy family relationships.  One of her most memorable ministries has been with the people of Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where her heart still lies.

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