Today is the day of Pentecost, the day we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, those men who Christ chose to build his Church and feed his sheep. It is the end of the Lent/Easter season in which we have celebrated the suffering, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of our Lord. We do well today to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask him to come into our hearts and minds, asking him to strengthen us to hold fast to the truth of Jesus Christ in the glory of God the Father.
Bishop Aquila was the celebrant of Mass this morning at St. Mary’s and he reminded us to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh, as St. Paul does too in his epistle to the Galatians.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against these there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious off one another.
Bishop is right, we need to live by the Spirit. Do I? Probably not. I can probably count more things in my life from the works of the flesh list than I can from the fruit of the Spirit list. I know I need to work harder at submitting to the Spirit and I am hoping that today as I am reminded of such a gift as the Spirit, that I can find the strength to do so.
But today is more than just Pentecost, but it is important to me in more ways than one. It symbolizes the ending of my first season in full communion with the Body of Christ. I survived six whole weeks and am stronger now, have found more joy than ever before, even in the midst of more persecution. But I also found out that a friend of mine will be beginning his journey into the Catholic faith this fall when he starts to take RCIA at St. Mary’s. I am so very joyful about this because in the midst of opposition that seems to only grow and never end there are more candles coming into faith, realizing that the Catholic Church is more than legitimate. I pray for him even now and I hope you will too as he prepares to prepare to be accepted into the Church next Easter.
And as we move from Easter into Ordinary Time, let us pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o’erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.