Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy Pentecost Sunday!

Today is the feast of the Pentecost. I learned something new today at mass: today is the 50th day after Passover.

I first learned about Pentecost -- the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and the Virgin Mary through 'tongues of fire' -- when I was in elementary Catholic school. The teacher showed us a drawn picture of several men and a woman gathered together in a room with fire floating above their heads, like decapitated candles. Imagining it as a kid scared me; I could almost smell burnt hair just thinking about it.

The Holy Spirit has always been such an abstract concept to me. My sister even said that she used to be intimidated by the whole notion of praying to the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Trinity, which comprises of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, was perhaps the most important Catholic concept I had to learn growing up. God the Father and God the Son were more concrete and humanly understandable; the idea of an all encompassing father figure and the son who once walked the earth as a human was definitely something I could embrace more than the idea of what the oldies liked to call 'the holy ghost', a term that scared me as a kid.

Who or what is the Holy Spirit to you?

It took me a while to 'get it', although at times I still don't think I understand completely. I realize God is something we are not supposed to fully understand or grasp with our limited human minds anyway, but to simply embrace through the grace that fills our spirit.

Spirit. So intangible. There's that word again. But as an adult, I've learned to appreciate the concept of the Holy Spirit. Through my limited, human mind and understanding, I have come to appreciate the Holy Spirit as the all-knowing, positive, and perfect energy that gives enlightenment and understanding, guidance, and peace in our lives.

Enlightenment and understanding. As a child, I was taught to pray to the Holy Spirit before taking a test. I pray to the Holy Spirit before job interviews, presentations, or even before simply having a conversation with someone that requires a lot of patience and trust. I pray to the Holy Spirit when I need to ask someone for their forgiveness, or when someone asks for mine. Enlightenment. Light. The Holy Spirit, on Pentecost, is depicted as 'tongues of fire' floating above the heads of the members of our first church. They were blessed with the ability to speak and share God's word throughout the world, and the humble understanding of their duties as Christians following Jesus Christ's footsteps. The Holy Spirit enlightened them, and gave them understanding, preparing them for their first steps as followers of Christ--quite a big feat, if you ask me.

Guidance. I pray to the Holy Spirit when I am in the middle of making an important decision. I find that praying to the Holy Spirit, in particular, when trying to figure out God's will for me, has always been the most effective and clarifying. The Holy Spirit's energy clears my head and prepares my heart when I run into a crossroads, so that I may choose the right path.

It took me a while to accept and learn and completely embrace praying for what God wants instead of what I want. But then almost every time I do the latter and simply go for what I want, it flops. So now, even though I still let God know the desires of my heart--which I truly believe is also important to Him--I would always say that, in the end, His will be done. Praying to the Holy Spirit gives me the strength to do precisely that, and the guidance that comes with choosing wisely.

Peace. I am a nervous wreck, especially when dealing with people who are not close friends or family. I am a nervous wreck whenever I travel alone, or whenever my husband travels alone without me. I am a nervous wreck during doctor's visits. I am a nervous wreck every time I am pulled out of my comfort zone. I pray to the Holy Spirit to calm my heart during such occasions. Again--all knowing, positive, and perfect energy. The Holy Spirit is also often depicted as a white dove, the perfect epitome of peace.

The Holy Spirit is a glorious gift and presence. I urge you to try letting this all knowing, positive, and perfect energy into your daily decision-making. You will be surprised at how much more fruitful and purposeful your lives will become.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

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