Pentecost – Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit so he can be with us always. Also this feast is recognized as the birthday of the Church. I have had many Pentecost moments when I’ve been filled with the Spirit, often when I’ve been singing at mass or when I’ve been praying. Several of these moments come to mind immediately:
- while in high school I attended a youth rally on a hill in Elliot Lake, I felt uplifted and during the homily offered by Bishop Carter it was as if he was speaking directly to me;
- at some Taizé prayer sessions where the word of God is prayed in many languages and the beauty of voices mixed in harmony washes over everyone present;
- driving along the shore of Lake Superior from Wawa to the Sault in the fall, the beauty of creation overwhelmed me and I felt swept up;
- while doing Vocation presentations in Grade 6 classrooms, students would ask me deep theological questions – I would pause and think, “How do I answer that?” and simple meaningful words would be put into my mouth to share with the children.
I don’t know if I could live in the awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence all the time. It would be like living the moment of the Transfiguration every day. Even Jesus invited his disciples to go back down into their normal lives. I imagine that the disciples would not have trouble remembering that moment of awe and wonder and could draw on it when life was throwing them a curve ball. These moments of the Spirit cannot be manufactured, these moments are gifts that are offered to carry us, to remind us of God’s great love and mercy, to inspire us to take a leap of faith. One of my favourite prayers is the Sequence to the Holy Spirit, especially when it is sung. Let us pray:
Come Holy Spirit come
and from your celestial home
shed a ray of light divine.
Come, Father of the poor,
Come, Source of all our store,
Come within our bosom shine.
You of comforters, the best
You, the soul’s most welcome guest,
Sweet refreshment here below.
In our labour, rest most sweet
pleasant coolness in the heat
solace in the midst of woe
O most blessed light divine
shine within these hearts of thine
and our in most being fill.
Where you are not we have naught,
nothing good in deed or thought,
nothing free of taint or ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew
on our dryness pour thy dew
wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will
melt the frozen, warm the chill
guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful who adore
and confess you evermore
let your Spirit now descend.
Give them virtue’s sure reward
Give them your salvation, Lord.
Give them joy that never ends.
Pat Carter, CSJ is a disciple, a teacher and an advocate for the poor. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph for more than half of her life and loves to use words to inspire faith and laughter. She is a cantor at her parish of St. Jerome’s in Sault Ste. Marie.