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Before Pentecost, the disciples were fearful orphans subject to their whims of the moment. Sad and grieving without Jesus, they lacked self-direction and self-motivating guidance. He was their protector who promised to stay with them always.
Then the mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit breathed into them a divine life of spiritual maturity. After Pentecost they put away childish things, thought with understanding, spoke with discernment, acted with zeal and certainty. They changed the world!
The Holy Spirit moved through them with grace, girding their natural weakness with divine strength, praying from deep within them to voice their holiest desires.
We, too, can approach the Mass of Pentecost open to an infilling of grace from the breath of the Holy Spirit. On the altar aglow with grace, we can offer our unpredictable emotions, our disorganized thoughts, our misdirected goals, unfulfilled promises and silly childish diversions. We can leave them there and walk away filled with the gifts of the Spirit burning in us. Mind-blowing manifestations of incredible power are ours for the asking: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
Deep connection with Christ
Rather than rushing in, the Holy Spirit more often tiptoes into our willing hearts. He fills us with grace and prompts us to seek a deeper connection with Christ. He whispers kinder ways we can relate to those close to us. He helps us persevere through the workday without melting down. He points to little blessings we didn’t notice yesterday but thank God for today.
The Holy Spirit makes known the risen Lord to us by helping us remember Bible verses and Catechism concepts that we can teach our children. Ordinary expressions like, “The first shall be last,” give us opportunities to tell how Jesus used now-familiar sayings to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven.
He opens our minds to understand his Death and Resurrection when we allow him the time and space away from the noise of our culture. Yes, one by one he peels away the crusts of confusion as we ponder and pray about our death and resurrection. And our glorious eternity with him.
Holy Spirit firepower
Planted in us at Baptism and nourished at Confirmation, the Holy Spirit dwells in the depths of our souls as Jesus promised. Hidden from the unbelievers, the Spirit of truth stays with us always, stirring the coals of his holy fire within us. We can never get enough Holy Spirit firepower. His spirit never gives out and never gives up on us. The more holy and sanctified we grow, the more fully the fire of the Holy Spirit enflames us with love. He hides in our hearts until he bursts forth to the world in our actions.
Let us invite the Holy Spirit to rekindle his gifts in us, girding our natural weakness with divine strength, praying from deep within us to voice our truest desires. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to emblaze our thoughts with understanding, our words with discernment and our actions with zeal and certainty. Let us then use these gifts to change the world!
Come Holy Spirit, warm the hearts of all with the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and we will be reborn. And you will renew the face of the earth.
(© 2013 revised 2016 Nancy HC Ward)