From Father Steven - June 5, 2022
COME HOLY SPIRIT
Dear Brother and Sisters,
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. We often associate it with the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles in the cenacle, and the tongues of fire. Even though these are all true, there is much more behind it. For a better understanding of it, we would need first to look back at the Old Testament in the book of Exodus, and then look at how this celebration help us, personally.
The feast of Shavuot, also known as the feast of weeks, is the celebration of the manifestation of God at Mount Sinai when God gave/revealed the Law to the people of Israel. God gives them the Way of Life (the Law) through the two tables of the 10 commandments. this moment, according to the Jewish scholars, God manifests his love for his people. The Law is not meant to limit us with Do’s” and Don’ts. Rather, it means to show us the way to True Happiness, the way to Eternal Life. However, because of Original Sin, there is always a doubt about God’s ways, and we see everything that limits us as a burden, hence the thought that “I have to do that, or I should do that, but I can’t.” The truth is that it’s actually completely the opposite. We should always interpret any law from God as “this is what will make me happy,” like “love one another as I have loved you.” Only then we will be happy/saved.
The Prophet Jeremiah announces that when the Messiah comes, God would reveal himself once again. In this new revelation, it would not be like in the Old Testament, that the Law was written on stone. He announces that God would write the Law (Way of Happiness and Life) “on man’s hearts” (Jr 31:33). Indeed, when Christ came, God wrote his Law using the HOLY SPIRIT. It is the third Person of the Trinity that speaks to our hearts. Jesus announces that the Spirit would remind everything that he taught (Jn 14:26). The whole law is summarized by the Love of God and the neighbor. The Holy Spirit comes to give us GOD’S LOVE! God’s love manifested by Jesus Christ is a NEW LOVE, in which, one does not resist evil, one that forgives. Surely we by ourselves can’t love the person that is different or is a sore in our side. We can tolerate at best! To forgive is not to let it go, but to pray for the person killing you, like Christ who says, “Father, Forgive them.” The Holy Spirit comes to give us THIS LOVE. If we want to be Christians, that is, CHRIST LIKE, then we NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT BADLY!!! We can’t love like that. St. Paul in the letter to the Romans recalls Psalm 44 says that we are like sheep led to the slaughter. I would add that this happens every day. Every day we encounter events, small or big, and people that make us suffer. Those moments we need the love of God, because we can’t deal with it on our own strength. That’s why it’s so important to ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT! St. Paul also says “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed… struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (2Co 4:7-10). In other words, today, in this Pentecost, it is THROUGH US THAT GOD WANTS TO MANIFEST HIS LOVE FOR THE WORLD.
I invite you to ask for God’s help. In the midst of all the violence and war that we have experienced in these past months, let’s also experience Love. Let’s welcome the sweet guest of our souls. Ask for the Holy Spirit, to renew the face of the earth through love. Ask for his fruits, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, modesty and chastity. Only then we will be able to BE HOLY! Below is the prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that we have used in our Novena that we posted on Facebook this year. It comes from EWTN, and is my favorite one.
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal; the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth; the Spirit of Counsel, that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven; the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation; the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints; the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable; the Spirit of Fear, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
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Father Steven Clemence