It’s no secret. I’ve always loved Pentecost. The dissent of the Holy Spirit is my favorite mystery and confirmation my favorite sacrament. I’ve worn a Holy Spirit dove most days since I’ve owned it, and that came because the Holy Spirit healed me at a retreat. (The people at the retreat prayed for my healing and that weekend was the first time I could breathe for a few minutes with the tracheostomy plugged). After the operation to remove the trache, my dad bought my mother a gold sand dollar necklace with the date they removed the tube stamped on the back. He told me to pick out anything I wanted. Being in second grade, Dad expected me to pick a butterfly or a bunny or a heart. I picked this:
Sometimes, the Holy Spirit delights in making sure we can’t miss it. The pendant was one of those times. I wore it for years and years and years. After September 11th, I gave it away to someone facing a very serious surgery, because well, I felt pushed to do so. I don’t know his story, but I trust one day I will. My husband replaced the silver dove with a new one that I still wear. My wedding ring fits on the chain too.
I beg and beg regularly and the Holy Spirit answers. I’m not sure who gets the most requests from me, Saint Anthony, the Blessed Mother or the Holy Spirit. It depends upon the day. I do know, as Catholics, we do not call upon the third person of the Trinity with enough regularity. We do not ask for the gifts we’ve been offered at confirmation, the ones given to equip us for the mission of building up the Body of Christ. In many cases, we don’t know what those gifts are. These days, I’ve learned to just tell the Holy Spirit, I’ll probably need them all.
We slept in, owing to having to drive to Cantonsville to pick up a college student and move him back home on Thursday, White Marsh north of Baltimore on Friday night for an MRI with contrast, and Saturday at the DMV hoping a kid would pass their test. They didn’t. Mass time went from nine to nine-thirty to “Let’s do the five.” I worried the day would get away from us, but we held the ordinary breakfast feast of bagels, played cards, took care of the ordinary stuff of laundry and set an alarm so we wouldn’t be late.
The alarm went off and most got ready.
One teen announced they could not go. They had nothing to wear. The year of having a virtual mass makes getting people out the door so much harder than it was. We spent an hour combing through the drawers and laundry. Having settled on an outfit, it still needed work. I offered to sew. (I don’t sew. I can stitch, but not sew). We made it to mass but with the AC out and a mask and 90 degree heat, my child struggled with how uncomfortable the air felt.
Sitting in the back pew, holding onto the words I could hear, wondering, when would it get easier? I’d spent years trying to give full attention to the mass and even now, found myself endlessly distracted by the needs of the ones around me I loved. The answer came while fanning her, was serving the church. It wasn’t for me, it was for me to serve my children. Serving them, served Christ. My job, was to get them there. It was the Holy Spirit’s job to prick their ears, to help them hear, to open their eyes to help them see, and to invite them into communion with Christ. It wouldn’t get easier, it wasn’t supposed to. “All service is tedious and irksome, love makes it possible and perfect love makes it a joy…” meant serve, serve with love, serve until you love, love until you cannot help but serve.
This is why I love the Holy Spirit, because I can know this Third Person of the Trinity actively seeks to use my hands, my heart, my eyes, my voice, my everything to serve Christ. I can also know if I’ve cooperated by the fruits –a good gut check for me as to whether I served or severed relationship. So wear red, rejoice in this day when we begin the work of the Church, and if you don’t know if you’re doing things, look to the fruits.
If your work brings peace, patience, hope, healing, laughter, people to the sacraments, people to service, invites people to be generous, to be charitable, courageous, forgiving, peace makers, builders of friendships and beauty, then the Holy Spirit led you. It’s that simple. It’s that true.
We want a vibrant growing joy-filled Church, seeking to be salve to a wounded world. The first step for each of us, is to ask every day before we begin, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us, the fire of your love.” and see where the Great Paraclete leads us. The second step is to follow. The third is at the end of the day, to ask, “Holy Spirit, please forgive me all the times I’ve grieved you.” and the fourth is to go to bed with the resolve of the next day, beginning again.