I would like to reflect on the Pentecost Sequence prayer to recall how the Spirit helps us to be touched by the love of God our Father and Jesus our Lord. Fulton J. Sheen once said about the Church, “Even though we are God’s chosen people, we often behave more like God’s frozen people–frozen in our prayer life, frozen in the way we relate to one another, frozen in the way we celebrate our faith.” The Holy Spirit promises to melt the frozen and warm the chill with new life and enthusiasm, with the fire of God’s love. The Spirit is sent by God the Father to guide and direct and as long as we co-operate wonderful things can happen. Today at Mass we make the effort to turn our minds and hearts to God so that the Holy Spirit of God will actually change us and change what we offer into a divine gift to God.
If we take time out for prayer and give ourselves space to reflect, the Spirit pours into our minds a sense of refreshing peace. The Spirit can comfort and strengthen when we feel under pressure, when things get overheated, when we are overwhelmed by the negative reports about Covid. When we are dismayed or distressed, ill at ease with the thought that life comes to an end, that death can destroy all we hold dear, then the Spirit can fill our hearts with hope for a future with God. The Spirit helps us to recall that life is immortal, that we are made for eternal life and that Jesus is with us and accompanies us along the way. When a friend is ill or when there is a tough time in the family Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit of God will come to make us strong to help us persevere. Sometimes people get strength out of nowhere and get over each difficulty because everyone has worked together for a brighter future. So let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to bless all our families. Let us also ask for the Spirit of truth to give leaders the right words to say to those who go astray and lead others astray largely because of careless talk and thoughtlessness.
The tragedy of race riots in the USA arguably arose out of a false spirit of self-justification and arrogant words of blame. If there are only hurtful or damaging words and nobody listens then destruction follows. We pray for the Spirit to guide Christians to be constructive, to heal wounds and give new strength. The Spirit of God can refresh spirits and give energy. We find the stubborn streak being softened and the chilly attitudes reformed. We pray to discover again the Confirmation gifts of wisdom, understanding and good judgement, courage and self-knowledge, respect for others, enjoying being in God’s presence. Those spiritual gifts make life worthwhile. The Sequence prayer was composed 800 years ago and is still amazingly relevant today. Let’s build a picture of the Spirit of God in action right now!
Spirit-filled people acknowledge their weaknesses, ask for the strengthening, anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit every morning, ask for His forgiveness every evening and pass on that forgiveness to those who sin against them. Spirit-filled people are praying people. They pray and worship God in their families and parishes. Prayer is the way to grow continually in faith, hope and love. Spirit-filled people pray to return soon to the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist in Church.
Spirit-filled people speak words that heal, restore and make others happy and build them up instead of tearing them down. Spirit-filled people pass on the love of God to the those living around them by their acts of kindness, mercy and charity. Everyone knows what is meant by a good spirit in a community. The good results are a spirit of love, a spirit of helpfulness, a spirit of generosity and a spirit of gentleness. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit of God to touch the world with God’s love and to touch the depths of our hearts with joys that never end.