by Ken Rolheiser
Keep playing and following the Spirit’s GPS

The story is told of a little boy whose mother took him to a Paderewski concert.  He slipped away, made his way to the platform, sat at the piano and began to play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."  When Paderewski saw this he went to the piano and whispered to him, “Keep going.  Don’t quit, son.  Keep playing.”

Then Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began to fill in the bass part. Then with his right arm around the little boy, he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.

Whenever we attempt something in God’s name, God comes along beside us, sits down next to us, and whispers in our ear, "Don't quit; keep playing."  Then, with His subtle guidance and able assistance, we suddenly find ourselves making beautiful music both with and for God, and enriching the lives of ourselves and of others as we glorify God. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

In a homily “Every Soul is kissed by God” Brendan McGuire refers to the tradition in the Catholic Church that when a person is created, God kisses their soul and then sends them forth into the world. “Ever since that kiss,” he says, “we yearn for another kiss from God. We can never unlearn it.”

That restless yearning is described by St. Augustine, "Our soul is restless until it rests in you." Theologian Father Ron Rolheiser puts it this way: we have a holy longing within us; we are never, ever complete until we are in the presence of God, and everything we do is an appeasement of that longing.”

McGuire suggests how we will find our way back to God’s presence, and that is through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate GPS that will guide us right back to the Lord. Then our mission is to share that gift, and the joy with others. But we have to find a way to listen to the Holy Spirit.

It is not always easy to respond to God’s call or even to discern it, but we need to go on doing what we are doing with faith that God will use our little effort and multiply it. “Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air and a queasy feeling in the stomach.” Mother Angelica

I have been fortunate in my pursuit of spiritual writing, and I use this to illustrate how God can work through us. After writing over 1,000 articles I still am amazed at how those words reach into little corners to someone who needs to hear them.

As we use our gifts, in our clumsy human way, we should listen for God’s whisper, “Keep playing”, as God adds the accompaniment to our symphony of life.

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