I had a friend, Anna, whose conversation frequently included the expressions, “Oh, Spirit,” “Help, Spirit,” “Thanks, Spirit.” Her devotion impressed me. Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit, became more important to me as I reflected on the number of times the Spirit is invoked in the Eucharistic liturgy.
Occurrences such as “You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father”(Gloria); “Power of the Holy Spirit”; “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life” (Creed).
And from the Preface for Pentecost : “Today we celebrate the great beginnings of Your Church, when the Holy Spirit made known to all peoples the one True God and created from the many languages of humanity, one voice to proclaim one Faith.”
“Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy so that they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ” (the Consecration).
“Grant that we may be nourished by His Body and Blood and may be filled with the Holy Spirit and become one body, one Spirit in Christ ” (Memorial Prayer).
Prior to Pentecost and the administering of Confirmation, banners were displayed in our parish. The thought surfaced that these words, common in themselves, have a deeper connotation relative to the Spirit. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” confirmed this (1830, 1831) in explaining the gifts of the Spirit:
- Wisdom that helps a person to value the things of heaven
- Understanding that helps a person grasp the truths of religion
- Counsel that enables a person to see correctly and choose the best approach in serving God
- Fortitude that strengthens a person’s resolve to overcome obstacles to living the faith
- Knowledge that helps one to see the dangers to faith and the right path to follow
- Piety that gives a person confidence in God and an eagerness to serve God
- Fear of the Lord that makes a person aware of God’s sovereignty and the respect due God and God’s laws.
Elsewhere the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit, that is, the way we recognize the Spirit present and working in human lives, begin with love, joy, peace, and patience.
Calling to mind the original Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire, we invoke the Spirit to “Come, fill the hearts of the faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your Divine love.”
Pat Gillin, Ursuline Associate
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