COME HOLY SPIRIT
The days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost mark the origin of the novena. From ancient times the church, as it were, went to an upper room. Today’s Acts text tells of the apostles and the others going to the room and beginning fervent prayer for an outpouring of the Spirit. This COVID time gives us the perfect opportunity to add in some extra prayer time. The Spirit empowered the disciples, frozen in fear and confusion. Our circumstance today is similar. There is more than enough fear among us today. While some reported on the news, show impatience for reopening, many more feel wary. Even our venturing out is done with an awareness that this virus is not gone, and very much a threat to our good health. Our fears are not those that locked the doors and windows of that upper room. But, we too, have locked doors and windows in our time.
Inevitably, an outpouring of the Spirit upon us will not throw open our doors and windows. The apostle’s reasons for sheltering in place and ours are clearly quite different.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,
and en-kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be recreated,
and you shall renew the face of the earth.
This is a prayer I learned early in childhood. It has a long tradition in the church calling forth the Holy Spirit. I offer it here as a way of praying during these days leading to Pentecost. We pray for a renewal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. These express the ways the Holy Spirit effects and guides our lives. In these days, and in the most ordinary of times, we need Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel. We need God’s help, God’s Grace, in seeing, understanding, and coming to Peace with the circumstances of our lives, decisions that must be made. We pray, as the apostles did in that upper room, for God’s Grace. Fortitude is the gift that enables us to transition from prayer to action. Our action must be informed by our prayer, and our prayer must lead to action in the name of Jesus. Piety and Fear of the Lord are dimensions of our relationship with God. Fear of the Lord is not cowering and trembling. It is that deep sense of reverence and awe in the very presence of God. Living in that awe, training ourselves to an awareness of God’s indwelling, surrounding us always, becomes the very foundation of the living out of the Spirit’s gifts.
Today’s readings also remind us that just as the apostles turned to prayer, and we do today, Jesus too, is praying. That is an amazing thought... ‘I pray for them Father...’. John recalls in this gospel that Jesus assured the disciples then, and Jesus assures us today, that He is praying for us. We have all had the experience of being told ‘I am praying for you.’ Jesus says to you today: ‘I am praying for you.’
This Seventh Sunday of Easter reminds us that the Spirit gifts us for living Jesus’s life, and Jesus prays for us.
We could just pause on the wonder of that image ....Jesus is praying for you....at all times....praying that you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...praying that you are fully enabled and equipped to live Jesus’s life each day.
Please send us the names of your graduates so we may honor them June 13/14.
Have a good week