After 50 glorious days of Easter, finally my favorite day of the year comes rushing in to save the day! The Feast of Pentecost celebrates the day that the Holy Spirit came upon Our Lady and His disciples as they were gathered together in the upper room. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that the Holy Spirit was like the rush of a mighty wind, with tongues of flame like fire that rested on each person. A pentecostal preacher friend always makes such a big deal with this feast, saying that "Catholics just don't know what to do with the power of the Holy Spirit...The Spirit is revealed as the giver of life, the One who spoke through the prophets and today is revealed as the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow in the likeness of Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us Gifts we need to strengthen in our relationship to God: understanding, proclamation, prophecy, love of God, knowledge, wisdom, fear of God...Catholics just don't get it!" About three seconds after she said this to me, she found out that the Holy Spirit's fire was about to burn her through my tongue which I was biting...well, not for very long. Why is it that we have such a stereotype? I thoroughly disagree with this preacher woman...in fact, where was the Holy Spirit upon her mouth when she made such a statement? Has she seen this place? The Church militant here at St. Francis that soars with the Spirit's courage to bring upon the Kingdom right here and right now! We celebrate the Holy Spirit as the power of God among us that heals, forgives, inspires, and unites. In the one Spirit we know that we were baptized into one body, and at the Lord’s Table the Spirit unites us to be a witness to His Body and Blood/Soul and Divinity in a world that hungers for such proof of Jesus' Resurrection. I spoke to her of all this and even how the presence of the Spirit has been made present in our Masses and parish life: from music ministry, lectors and servers, to our school kids praise and worship at their annual Christian Coffeehouse and family picnic, to the building of playgrounds and proclamations, to adult scripture and faith series to name a few. She said back, we'll ask them to answer these questions to see if you're right:
- How does the Spirit work through me?
- How is that same wind blowing in my life as I look at the work I have been given to do?
- What are the gifts that I see manifested in those with whom I meet every day?
- Do I live my life in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects Him in the name of a falsely conceived freedom?
So what do you say Church? Tell me you have answers to her questions and that you want His Spirit! Fr. Bline