Today, 27 May 2012, is the Feast Day of Pentecost for the whole Church, and the beginning of the Year of Grace for the Church in Australia. So today, in honour of the Holy Spirit and his vast works of Grace within the Church, we will learn a bit more about Him from a few sources less frequently read. May He be praised, adored and glorified.
This first except comes from the The Revelations of St Birgitta (Bridget) of Sweden Volume 2 compiled by Bridget Morris and Denis Searby, Chapter 12 : ‘The Virgin Mother speaks: ‘In this world God’s friends must sometimes find themselves spiritually distressed, at other times spiritually comforted. Spiritual consolation means the infusion of the Holy Spirit, contemplating God’s great works, admiring His forbearance, and putting all this cheerfully into practice. Spiritual distress is when the mind is involuntarily disturbed by unclean and vexing thoughts, when it suffers anguish over dishonour shown to God and over the loss of souls, when one’s heart is forced to occupy itself with worldly concerns for a good reason. God’s friends can also at times be comforted with a temporal kind of comfort, such as edifying conversation, decent entertainment, or other activities in which there is nothing demeaning or indecent…If a fist were always held tightly closed, then either the muscles would be strained or the hand would grow weak. It is similar in spiritual matters. If the soul always remained in contemplation, then she would either forget herself and perish through pride, or else her crown of glory would be lessened. The reason why God’s friends are at times comforted by the infusion of the Holy Spirit and are at other times, with God’s permission, distressed is that their distress tears up the roots of sin and firmly plants the fruit of righteousness.’ ‘
It is good to know that if you are not feeling on top of the world with spiritual joy today, that it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit hasn’t been active in your life.
This next excerpt comes from Fr Frederick Faber’s book ‘The Precious Blood’ : ‘Was there ever any such fertility as that of the Holy Spirit? The leaves of the trees, the blades of grass, the matted entanglement of tropical herbs in the moist forest, the countless shoals of living inhabitants of ocean…These are but types of the fecundity of the Holy Spirit in the operations of grace…The poor child, who has no notion of money but in pence, would be bewildered if he were called upon to deal in gold and to count his gold by millions. So we in earthly things are accustomed to dimensions, and to numbers, on so dwarfish a scale, that even our exaggerations will not raise our ideas to the true magnitudes and multitudes of the world of angels…If we try to bring before ourselves the variety of vocations in the world, the strictly peculiar needs of each single soul and the distinctive characteristic shape of the holiness of each single soul, then the multiplicity of the processes of grace prolonged perhaps over half a century or more, we shall see that the arithmetic of even human graces is amazing….Through the instrumentality of the Precious Blood, the Holy Spirit is everywhere and always making all things productive of sanctity in some measure and degree. Sanctification may be called the production of heavenly beauty in the world.’
Remembering these luminous words of Fr Faber’s would certainly help us pray ‘…I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified…’ with more gusto.
Often it is worthwhile revisiting what the Catholic Catechism of St Pius X has to say about the Holy Spirit : ’12. Q. What does the Holy Spirit do in the Church? The Holy Spirit gives life to the Church by His grace and by His gifts, as the soul gives life to the body; He establishes in her the Kingdom of truth and of love; and He helps her to lead her children in safety along the way to Heaven.
Lastly, let us learn a bit from Paul Y. Cho’s experience of the Holy Spirit, from his book ‘Prayer: Key to revival’ : The Holy Spirit can bless you when you read the Scriptures. The holy Spirit can direct you as you witness for Christ. The Holy Spirit can anoint you as you preach and teach the Word of God. But if you want to have an intimate communion with the Holy Spirit you need to pray. I first realised this truth in the early days of my ministry. I tried so hard to lead people to Christ, but with few results. As I was in prayer, the Lord spoke to my hart, ‘how many quail would Israel have caught if they had gone quail hunting in the wilderness?’ I responded, ‘Lord, not too many.’ ‘How did the quail get caught?’ the Lord continued to ask me. I then realised that God sent the wind which brought the quail. The Lord was trying to show me the difference between chasing souls without the Holy Spirit’s strategy and working in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Then the Lord said something to me that totally changed my life, ‘You must get to know and work with the Holy Spirit!’…I have also discovered that I am not smart enough to solve the thousands of problems that come to me regularly. Yet, I can just say to the Holy Spirit, ‘Sweet Spirit, please let me tell You about the problem I have. I know you know the mind of God and You already have the answer.’ With assurance, I then await the answer from the Holy Spirit.’
On this Pentecost day 2012, let us promise the Holy Spirit that we will truly seek His help and His strategies for the work of bringing souls back to God.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, enkindle in them the fire of Your love!