Today, as we are still in Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, and the churches are closed, I tuned in to a livestream Mass with a church I used to visit regularly for a time, St Cecelia & St Anselm, Holborn, London. The priest made an interesting comparison between the Feast of Pentecost (today May 31st 2020) and sunbathing in the park (there is currently gloriously hot sunshine today).
The Holy Spirit is first and foremost a Creator Spirit, hence Pentecost is also a feast of creation. For us Christians, the world is the fruit of an act of love by God who has made all things and in which he rejoices because it is “good”, it is “very good” as the creation narrative tells us (Genesis 1:1-31). Consequently God is not totally Other, unnameable and obscure. God reveals himself, he has a face. God is reason, God is will, God is love, God is beauty. Faith in the Creator Spirit and faith in the Spirit whom the Risen Christ gave to the Apostles and gives to each one of us are therefore inseparably united. The Gospel passage offers us a marvellous image to clarify the connection between Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father: the Holy Spirit is portrayed as the breath of the Risen Jesus Christ………the breath of God is life. Now, the Lord breathes into our soul the new breath of life, the Holy Spirit, His most intimate essence……Pope Benedict XVI – taken from the introduction to Pentecost Sunday in the 2012 CTS New Daily Missal People’s Edition p. 401
He explained how the simple act of sunbathing opens us up and relaxes us. The feel of the warmth and sun on your skin is delightful, and you start to feel better, perhaps with a lighter, more relaxed mood and you breathe into it, into that feeling of soothing, relaxation; drinking in the goodness of the sun.
Receiving the Holy Spirit could be described in a similar way, and I’m inclined to agree with the priest. I know how I feel when the sun is upon me. I feel as though it is God’s radiance upon my face, shining His light and His love all over me. We can choose to be open to receive the Holy Spirit and all the wonderful gifts that come with it.
The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are :
- Wisdom – Lord help me to see life as you wish me to
2. Understanding – help me to understand my life and the world around me
3. Right Judgement – help me to make right decisions
4. Courage – help me to proclaim the wonderful things God has done in my life. The spirit of Courage sets us free from fear…..
5. Knowledge – the more open we are, the more knowledge we can receive
6. Reverence – help me to have huge reverence for my Creator, for God among us in our midst
7. Wonder & Awe – how wonderful you are Lord! How wonderful to be in your Presence in every moment of every day!
We can pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
How can I know that the Holy Spirit is increasing in me? Well, you can look for the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life appearing.
The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit are:
Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Self-Control, Chastity.
Terence embraced the wonder & awe of our Creator in his everyday existence, especially remarking on the sky, the clouds and the beauty and light he saw in nature all around us. I see that wonder & awe expressed in this very special painting of Pentecost, which meant to so much to so many people who enjoyed seeing the painting in their place of worship every Sunday.