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Reflections

Pentecost: A Present Revelation

Sr. Patricia Bruno, OP

Pentecost: A Present Revelation

Stories Seldom Heard

262nd  Edition      May 2021

The Feast of Pentecost is celebrated this month on May 23.  Some of you might remember that we used to celebrated the Octave of Pentecost. The Sundays that followed Pentecost were numbered in relationship to Pentecost. Now, however, we do not have a Pentecost Octave. The Sundays that follow Pentecost are identified as the Sundays of Ordinary Time. As I pondered this change, a friend reminded me of a comment Raymond E Brown, SS, the renowned biblical scholar, theologian, and author offered concerning this change.  Commenting on the importance of the Feast of Pentecost, he said that Pentecost is such a central feast, it cannot be adequately celebrated on just one day.  It takes a whole year to unpack its meaning and significance in our lives.

Carroll Stuhlmueller, also a renowned theologian, lecturer, and a contemporary of Raymond Brown, explored the ongoing influence the Holy Spirit has on the church as a whole and on our individual lives.  We often speak of the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit, while at the same time forgetting that the “Gift” is the Spirit.  This Gift moves the whole church in astounding ways that make the reign of God more visible in our world. The Spirit also is personal and reaches into the depth of our hearts and minds. Because the Spirit is overwhelmingly powerful, She can summon us to heroic, life-giving acts.  Yet, many of us don’t feel or recognize the Spirit’s influence. Perhaps, if we prayed to the Spirit more intentionally in our formal prayers as well as throughout our daily routines, the Spirit’s influence might be more available to us and visible in our decisions?

Over the centuries, composers, poets, mystics, and people of prayer, like you and me, have written many prayers asking the Holy Spirit to be present and active in their lives. This is an excellent way of raising our consciousness of the Spirit’s presence. Could this practice help raise our awareness?  Would it allow the Spirit to influence our daily decisions and actions more easily?

Over this last year some people with whom I have spoken, especially in spiritual direction, have said that “prayer” has been difficult.  It has felt dry, heavy, or without a lot of joy. One of the Gifts of the Spirit, a sign that the Spirit is active in our lives, is joy—not a frivolous or shallow joy—but a deep sense of calm: a whisper that reminds us that “all shall be well.”  So, I would like to suggest the following prayer practice for this month.  Write your own prayer, song, or poem to the Holy Spirit. It’s an invitation that the spirit won’t refuse.

There’s no one magical way to begin.  But the following two suggestions might help.  Begin by reading and meditating on I Corinthians Chapter 12.  What words or images capture your attention?  Write your comments and insights.  Don’t critique your writing or spelling, just allow your thoughts, feelings, and insights guide your prayer.  The very “doing” of this practice is prayer.  A second suggestion is to find a prayer to the Holy Spirit that you especially like. Your prayer could mirror some of the words and images of the original prayer.  The following prayer by the Irish theologian, author, and retreat director Diarmuid O’Murchu might be of help to you. And remember the Season of the Spirit is woven throughout the year.  Repeating this practice will help the Spirit be more active and obvious in your daily actions and decisions. I promise because that is what Jesus said.

This first writing could become your first of many drafts.  Perfection is not the goal.

DOWNLOAD an example: # 262 Pentecost Prayer columns

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