Awaiting The Holy Spirit

The Pentecost Praise and Worship and Novena to the Holy Spirit entered its 7th day today in my parish. I had planned to go for some of the days but somehow, owing to work and other factors, I hadn’t been able to. It was a case of the “spirit was willing but the flesh weak” syndrome. Nevertheless, I managed to go today for the 8 pm service with my 7 yr old boy insistently wanting to tag along. And so, I went, I sang, I prayed with a couple of hundred others and returned home happy, grateful and thankful for the opportunity. My 7 yr old hero? Well, he had dozed off midway through the Praise and Worship! Presumably, resting in the spirit!

I was glad I went because I had the opportunity to hear my priest, in his homily, mention about true courage – not the physical kind, but the kind that Paul talks about in Acts 23:11 – the courage to stand up in the face of everyday trials. I’m sure all of us are familiar with that. Even right at this moment, there are people climbing Everest with the Olympic torch, trudging through sludge, snow and ice capped mountains. That requires a certain kind of courage. Not everyone has that.

But ordinary, everyday courage – just to stand up in the face of everyday trials, that requires real courage too. Every time a father reprimands his son, a pastor fulfills his priestly duties despite his own sufferings and pain, a government official speaks up for the truth at the risk of being branded a traitor by his own people, a journalist writes what he or she sees and not what he or she is told to write, etc., ordinary courage is at work in an extraordinary manner. We should not merely put aside this as an expected “sacrifice” rather we should celebrate it, with our hearts bursting for joy! For – this is Courage – indeed. May we remember all our “local heroes” – who quietly go about this most amazing act everyday, without fanfare, without recognition.

As we come to the Feast of the Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, it would be good to ponder a little on this message from the World Council of Churches. Read it here in full. The message ends with this prayer:

O, Giver of life,
who brought all things into being,
sustain and replenish your whole creation
that it may reflect your glory.

Come, Holy Spirit.
fill all life with your radiance.

O, Spirit of Truth,
who convinces the world of sin,
consume, as a mighty fire,
the powers of evil that bind your people
and set us free to walk in your light.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and illumine our hearts and minds.

O, Spirit of unity,
judge, restore and call us again.
bestow on us the gifts
that build us up into your people.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and light the flame of love
on the altar of our hearts.

O, Holy Spirit,
transform and sanctify us,
that we and all people
may have life in all its fullness.

Come, Holy Spirit,
Renew the whole creation.

Amen.

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