Verbum Domini

Feeling the gift of the Spirit

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None of us has ever seen the wind. Certainly we’ve seen the effects of the wind, but we can’t say that we’ve actually seen what the wind looks like. The wind is invisible; only its effects can be seen and felt. This is a good analogy for the feast of Pentecost which we celebrate this Sunday. No one has ever seen the Holy Spirit, but we can know the Holy Spirit and the effect that the Spirit can have in our lives.

This Sunday, we hear about the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and Mary. What we don’t hear about is the thousands of people who converted that day and joined the disciples. No one saw the Spirit on that day, but they certainly experienced the effects of the Holy Spirit and the power of his presence. The Apostles were transformed on Pentecost Day. Their fear was transformed into courage and they preached the Good News. The Spirit enlivened the Church and brought new power to the Apostles. Yet, no one saw the Holy Spirit, they only saw and experienced the effects.

The Holy Spirit wants to enliven and transform our lives too; and there’s a simple way to tell if we are allowing the Spirit to transform us: are we experiencing the fruits of the Holy Spirit? On a daily basis, even in the midst of difficulties, are we experiencing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? This is a good way for us to prayerfully examine our lives. If we are not experiencing the fruits of the Holy Spirit, then it might mean that we need to allow God’s grace to draw us more deeply into the life and depths of the Holy Spirit.

As Catholics, we are all called to spread the Good News of Christ as the first apostles did. But in order to do this we must first be empowered by the Holy Spirit. If we live in union with the Holy Spirit, then we can’t help but to spread Christ to others. Remember, on the day of Pentecost tongues of fire appeared over the heads of the apostles. Fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. We are called to spread that fire. St. Catherine of Siena once said, “If you are what you should be you would set the world ablaze.” We will set the world ablaze with the love of God if we truly open our hearts to the Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray, in union with Mary, for a deeper outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the Church: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.

Father Michael Najim is Spiritual Director of Our Lady of Providence Seminary, Providence, as well as Catholic Chaplain at LaSalle Academy, Providence.