Come Holy Spirit
We all love passion –young love, a grandparent’s delight, winners at the Olympics, medical professionals finding a cure – the story of these people light up our hearts and give us joy. We all love passion – but if we are sensible, we also fear it – marital affairs, money lost through gambling, children neglected because of parents’ other interests – we know the grief and heartache that comes from passion gone awry. We all love passion – because the alternative is a dreary life, bogged down by boredom, and crippled by sadness.
The secret to having good passion is to look to the source. When our passions are based on our own selfish desires, even though they may feel ‘good’ at the beginning, they will end in grief. But if they are based on love of God and care of others and of our own selves, we will grow into the fullness of love and life and, even though our circumstances may be difficult, we will have joy.
The source of good, even great, passion is the Holy Spirit, the gift of God’s love to us. This coming Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, the feast of this Holy Spirit. Now is a good time for stocktaking the passions in your life. How do you do that? By actually noting what you do and asking yourself what are your habits. Not the ‘gunna dos’ by which we often make our self image, but what we really do. As we see who we are, we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom and courage to embrace passions that will actually make us the work of art God wants each of us to be.
Loving God, send into our hearts and lives your fire of love, the Holy Spirit. In the wisdom of the Spirit may we love our family, friends and community, as Jesus would love them. We ask this in his name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb
Values for Life
In the coming weeks, the church celebrates two of it major feasts: the Ascension and Pentecost. In the first, we celebrate when the risen Jesus left the disciples, and in Pentecost, we celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit.
Come again?!? We celebrate Jesus leaving us! Why on earth would we do that? Wouldn’t you think that as Christians we would much prefer him to stay around on earth to lead and guide us, telling us what to do. No, because then we would remain dependent and immature. Strange to say he has become absent physically in this world so that he might be present in our lives, within our own selves. God became human in Jesus that we might become like God. We are meant to ‘grow up’ to salvation and have the maturity to show forth the presence of Jesus within our own lives.
Strange to say we can see how this dynamic works in parenting. While children are young we need to be constantly with them teaching them values to live by so that when older, they can live those values in their own way. Passing on good values is not easy. It is often so much easier to do the chores ourselves, that to teach them how do them; so much easier to give them free use of the internet and mobile phones, than to teach them boundaries and self-respect. It is a challenge to teach them how to be responsible on Facebook, to understand that not everything ‘about me’ has to be shared with the world. As a parent or guardian, these challenges will stretch you…and that is when we can call on the gift of the Holy Spirit to impart to our children values they can internalise and guide them later in life.
People of Spirit
Nelson Mandela, Jessica Watson and Kieran Perkins, all inspire us, not only because of their extraordinary talents, but also because of the way they faced their liabilities, difficulties and failures. There is a spirit within such people that transforms challenging situations into something positive, something within them that makes every post a winner. Personally, I am even more inspired by the people who deal with their addictions to alcohol, drugs or gambling. Each day, every day, they have to humbly face the crack that runs across their heart just to maintain normalcy. We do not see how heroic their lives are when they are successful, because they seem so….well, normal.
We are inspired by these people because we too want to be people of spirit. No matter how ordinary we are, something in our hearts desires greatness. And this is what God wants for us too. We weren’t created in God’s image and likeness just to be ordinary. We are to be works of divine art. For most us, this art lies within our family relationships. These long term relationships can humble us but they can also be our glory. To love and to be loved, deeply and humbly, is the greatest human achievement: it is the work of God in our lives. Each day, every day, God’s Spirit comes to us offering grace, divine help, so that we can love as God loves.
Loving God, help us to live our lives in your love. Filled with your Spirit, we can show the face of Jesus to all who we love, and from them we can receive his love. We ask this in his name, confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb.
Passion with the Spirit
What makes us change, change for good, that is? Passion. People change when they love someone or something intensely. Tim Winton, the novelist recounted his transformation from virtual redneck to ardent conservationist. It surprised many, including himself but he simply couldn’t let his beloved coastline of Western Australia be trashed for the sake of one dubious resort. The threatened area is now World Heritage. Winton has made friends and powerful enemies but he is at peace with himself.
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, remembering the transformation that came over Jesus’ fearful cowering disciples when the Holy Spirit changed them into people ready to proclaim to the world the love of God they had experienced in Jesus. On this feast we also often celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation when we pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon those receiving the Sacrament, filling them with life, love and passion. As parents and caregivers, we have the responsibility not only to pray for these children but to foster in them the passions that will give them rich and meaningful lives. God’s Spirit desires to unite with our spirit giving us the wisdom, energy, patience and fortitude to foster what we most deeply love. Too much of our society advises us to tone down, to conform to some sanitised ideal. On this feast we are encouraged to do the opposite: to claim the passion that is in our hearts and to ask God’s Spirit to fan it into a flame that we may burn brightly with love.
Loving God, send your Spirit into the hearts of our children. May we guide their minds and hearts to discern what they truly love, to work with passion for its fulfilment and to have joy as they grow into your life and love. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.