On this solemn day, we remember and celebrate the Holy Spirit of God that dwells in us and that makes us Church. Faith, hope, love in the manner of Christ, prayer, it’s all the doing, in us, of the Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God is very discreet, so much so that Paul and his companions, on their missionary journeys, encountered people who claimed to be Christian, but who had heard nothing, and knew nothing, of the Holy Spirit. It is so discreet that we ourselves, if we didn’t have the teachings that are provided in the Old and New Testament about the Holy Spirit, would know precious little about it. We would be able to guess, I think, that there is a Holy Spirit, but based on our tangible experience, how little we would really know.
This discretion of the Holy Spirit explains no doubt why we give so little thought to the Holy Spirit, why we seldom dwell in meditation on the Holy Spirit, why we seldom pray to the Holy Spirit. It’s true that God, in his Providence, has induced in the Catholic world, and more widely in the Christian world, what has come to be called the Charismatic Renewal, a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit over the past fifty years that has reinforced our awareness of the reality and the centrality of the Holy Spirit in our Christian lives. Thanks be to God, we have here at St. Mary’s parish a charismatic prayer group, Mission Ablaze, that meets on Tuesday nights in the church basement for prayer and fellowship. You’re all welcome to join them!
Thanks be to God, we also have, annually, the feast of Pentecost, to remind us of the reality, the presence to us, and the work in us, of God’s Holy Spirit. Since this feast lasts but a day, and we would like for everyone to have an abiding awareness and confidence in the presence and redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in us, we have prepared copies of a card on which is inscribed the “Prayer for Pentecost”, which is actually the “Pentecost Sequence” that you will find in today’s Sunday Missal. We have distributed them in the pews. They are there for the taking. Take a copy, read it quietly at home if we don’t sing it today in church, and post in on your refrigerator door, or in some prominent place in your home, so that you might be reminded daily of the reality, and of the abiding presence in you, of the Holy Spirit.
Of all the things that are said about the Holy Spirit in Scripture, the most consoling, for me, is the affirmation of St. Paul, that “the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27) In other words, in virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, whether we know it or not, whether we feel it or not, at all times, the Spirit of God is in us, lifting up to God the Father a prayer that is pleasing to the Father, because the Spirit’s prayer in and for us is the prayer that the Father wants to hear. What an immense consolation. Even when we’re not praying, we’re praying!
May this conviction be present to us all, all the time, that we might always have hope.
God bless, and Happy Pentecost,