Dear Friends in Christ,
In following the theme of the previous two weeks’ bulletins, I once again propose the question of “Who are we?” Today however I don’t ask the question regarding just St. Mary Parish, but also as One Church, as a truly “universal” or “catholic” community of disciples.
We, the Church, are a people created by God the Father. We are a people called and justified and formed by Jesus Christ. We are a people gifted and commissioned by the Holy Spirit. We are a community of believers, forming a unified Body, sent to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” We are many other things besides, but these are the very basics.
Today on this great feast of Pentecost, let us ponder a little bit on what it means to be “gifted” by the Holy Spirit. In Baptism and again in Confirmation we firmly believe the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us such that we become “divinized”, meaning that we actually reflect the living God – Father, Son, and Spirit – in our very persons. If we only knew the awesome Gift of the Spirit that we have all been given, how much different of a people would we be?
Our catechism teaches that the Gift of the Spirit is a 7-fold gift. Remember what they are:
Wisdom – The desire to contemplate the things of God as revealed through the Catholic Faith.
Knowledge – The actual ability to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic Faith.
Understanding – The ability to grasp, in some way, the very essence of the truths of the Faith.
Counsel – The ability to judge how best to act in accordance with the truths of the Catholic Faith.
Fortitude – The strength to carry out the actions suggested by the gift of counsel.
Piety – The desire to worship God and to serve him out of love, guided by the Catholic Faith.
Fear of the Lord – The desire from love not to offend God; the certainty he will help us not to.
We believe also that there are 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Here is a reminder of them as well:
Love – A gift of self, for the sole good of the other, given freely without asking anything in return.
Joy – The awareness that God is one’s strength and protector; knowledge of being loved by God.
Peace – A tranquil state of soul fearing nothing from God; resting in a love relationship with him.
Patience – Actively bearing up in difficulties with a hopeful fortitude that resists weariness and defeat.
Kindness – Acting for the good of others regardless of what they do; benevolence.
Goodness – Embodying what is morally good according to Divine Revelation.
Faithfulness – Personal resolve not to wander away from commitments or promises.
Gentleness – A disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, unpretentious, and self-controlled.
Self Control – Strong, having mastery, able to control one’s thoughts and actions.
How about them “apples”?!
Because of our Baptism and our Confirmation, and furthermore because of our lives lived in the heart of the Church, we are an “inspired” people. That being the case, there should be ample evidence both to ourselves and to those who stand outside our fellowship that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in our community as a whole and in each one of us individually? In reviewing the above lists, how would you say we fare as The Body of Christ in living Spirit-filled lives? Where do we see abundant fruit? Where do we need repentance and Spiritual reinvigoration? We ask the Spirit to breathe on us again.
“Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.”
Happy Pentecost – Alleluia, Alleluia!!