Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Week Following Pentecost: The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

"COME, FATHER OF THE POOR!
COME, WITH TREASURES WHICH ENDURE!
COME, LIGHT OF ALL THAT LIVE!”

THE HOLY SPIRIT, OUR LORD OF LIFE, IS NEVER NOT AT WORK, LAVISHLY POURING HIMSELF INTO SOULS, FROM OUR BEGINNING, THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, AND AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF OUR BODIES. 
                                                   
At the spiritual birth of a new soul, and at the time of our physical death when our new spiritual life is about to be born into eternity, the Spirit of the Living God is working in most powerful, hidden ways. 

"The essential rite of the sacrament of Baptism ...signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ. Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate's head." (C.C.C. # 1239)

What is happening in the spiritual domain at these most sacred moments of our lives? 

At Baptism, we watch as the ordained priest pours the waters of life over the child. He does this three times to call the soul into new life with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

The Trinity beckons. 

The soul's death to sin and the "configuration to the Paschal Mystery of Christ" have begun.

We often hear the baby crying when those cold, blessed waters touch his/her warm forehead but our senses are feeble witnesses to these moments of eternal awe. What our senses do not see is the silent, mighty rush of the Spirit of God whose power brings about death to sin and entry into life in the Most Holy Trinity. 

We don't see the soul of the baby "leaping" with great joy at the arrival of such a Visitor Whose treasures will endure for the entire life of that soul which is now dead to sin. 

We all look with love on this little baby dressed in white but our human eyes do not behold the Presence of the stunning Beauty of Innocence. 

We do not weep holy tears to be so close to "Light Divine," present in the child, the soul's "most welcome Guest." 

We do not hear the chant of the Heavenly Beings or the astonishing chorus of great joy from all of our ancestors who are praising the Trinity for this new soul's life "configured to the Paschal Mystery" of Christ Jesus. 

And we do not wait with arms high and opened wide as that same Spirit, Who raised Jesus from the tomb of death, floods through the priest to the little child and beyond, to ourselves, standing in silent and reverential awe, praying that He will "fall afresh on us."

At the end of our lives, when Our Father calls us back Home and our physical bodies prepare to die, it is the Holy Spirit of the Living God Who once again moves in unspeakable and hidden ways. Have you known a dear one who has passed from this life after having been in a coma for some time? Or someone who has died having lost hope in Christ Jesus? Perhaps someone whose life-trials have fractured their relationship with God? Maybe someone who has not prayed or received the Sacraments for many many years? In the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 17, we hear Jesus Our Lord praying. He prayed first of all for Himself as He told His Father that His work was almost complete and that He was about to be glorified on His Cross. He prayed too for His disciples whom the Father had given to Him...

But then, He prayed another most wonderful prayer. He prayed for all those, of all time, whom the Father had also given to Him.

In His prayer, He saw you and me. 

"I in them, and You in Me ... so that they may be brought to complete unity ...FATHER, I WANT THOSE YOU HAVE GIVEN ME TO BE WHERE I AM , and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world....Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me." (John 17:22-25)

The Lord Jesus wanted those whom the Father had given Him to be where He is. Wherever we are, today, so is He.  

If this is the desire of the Son, then it's also the desire of the Father, because they are One. He desires that we be where He is. The names of every soul that leapt when the Spirit of Life rushed into them at Baptism were immediately written in the Book of Life. At the descent of the Holy Spirit in that Sacrament, God named them and claimed each one as His Own. 

What did He promise each one of us?

"Never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

"Never  will I leave you.” (Isaiah 49)

          "Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 
           Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49:16)

           "Father, I want those you have given me to be where I am." (John 17).

God keeps His promises. 

So, to those who are in a coma before death ... the Lord repeats, "Never will I leave you".  The body may be comatose but the spirit of the soul is alert to the "sound of the low whisper " heard by the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-18).

As we kneel in prayer around the deathbed of that loved one, once again, our senses are feeble  witnesses to the mysteries of God the Holy Spirit, moving without a sound in His child. We join Jesus in His prayer and trust His words ... that the soul of the loved one may be where He is.  

What of someone who is dying and who has lost hope in Christ Jesus? Perhaps someone whose life-trials have fractured their relationship with God? Can this one too be where He is? The Lord Jesus prayed for them in person and tells them, now, at their moment near death, "Never will I forsake you". 

At Baptism, the Spirit of the Living God descended into their infant bodies. AND THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES, THE SPIRIT NEVER LEFT THEM. Christ can never abandon Himself. 

At that moment of death, our Catholic faith reveals to us the astonishing mercy and staggering love of the Savior Who never abandons us. 

The parable of the Prodigal son speaks to us about the power of God's Mercy. The Father looks from afar and sees His lost child, stumbling in sin, humble and almost broken by life's harsh ways, straining forward to reach the Father, to say sorry, to be allowed to come back to Him. God cannot resist humility because whenever it is present in a soul, He sees His Son. And we see the Figure of the Father, His great cloak billowing as He runs toward His child, tears running down His face, arms wide open to clutch his lost child: 

"Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49) 

The Holy Spirit of the Living God has moved that soul to seek God, to seek His forgiveness, His mercy. 

And God rushes in joy to receive him back.

GREAT PARACLETE, TO THEE WE CRY:
"BEND THE STUBBORN HEART AND WILL;
MELT THE FROZEN, WARM THE CHILL;
GUIDE THE STEPS THAT GO ASTRAY;
          HEAL OUR WOUNDS --- OUR STRENGTH RENEW;
 ON OUR DRYNESS POUR YOUR DEW;
  WASH THE STAINS OF GUILT AWAY". 



5 comments:

  1. Oh my how beautiful 💕
    Thank you Anna 😭

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  2. This is a quite excellent exposition of the immense and quiet power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I have never connected the prodigal son parable with the endless outpouring of God’s great mercy before. Absolutely stunning analogy which reveals the astonishing love of God outflows in His Mercy. As Pope Francis has stated, our church is a field hospital for sinners. This blog entry should be standard reading for every priest which has to be the face of that Mercy which God pours out on us. Marvelous and hope filled, deeply personal and fully merciful is our God. Amen, amen.

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    1. Your words speak to my thoughts. Thank you.
      "The Spirit of Love takes as His collaborators the souls He has conquered". (Pere Marie-Eugene) Onward and upward.

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    2. Yes! Thank you, Anna. Inspiring words.

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  3. How is it possible that as a cradle catholic who has lived seven decades it is only now that I find this amazing treasure of Mercy and movement of the Holy Spirit. Just been on your website, Professor Rae, and your work is so profound to what it means to be a Catholic for me. I will be staying connected and checking back often.

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Thank you and may our tender God continue to bless you with His great Love.
ARK MINISTRIES - www.annaprae.com