"Mommy, I love you as big as God can be." — Nick, age 4
Today, we celebrated Penetcost. It’s a time of being especially attentive to the ways the Holy Spirit enters our hearts and interacts with us. It’s a time to be watchful for the ways grace comes, to be ready for the signs so we can accept the gift when it is presented to us.
I have heard so many in my life express confusion over the Holy Spirit’s role and reality. God and Jesus seem reachable, but what about the elusive Holy Spirit that flits in and out of our lives? How do we make sense of something that comes to us mainly through whispers?
But it’s not only through whispers that the Holy Spirit appears. Sometimes, it’s through the lively voice of a friend who brings encouragement; or the vivacious chatter of a child offering some sweet, spontaneous words of affection; or through a spouse’s tender words of unexpected gratitude. These are all the ways of the Holy Spirit, who finds plenty of means to make the intangible real.
As cantor of the evening Mass, I felt especially privileged to have an upfront view of the Confirmation of a new parishioner. The Holy Spirit definitely was there, as evidenced from the joy on this man’s face; a man who meandered for a while before returning to the church of his beginnings. From where I stood, I also could see my youngest, who doesn’t often hear me in this song-leading capacity, standing on a chair and stretching upward to catch a glimpse of me singing. The Holy Spirit emanated in the yearning of my son to make a connection with the source of the song. Earlier, my husband and I got together with our Marriage Encounter group, gathering for a turkey dinner and celebrating ten years of convening to help strengthen one another in the marital journey. The Holy Spirit was weaving in and out of us the entire time as we reaffirmed our vocation of marriage and took part in important discussions. And again, the Holy Spirit was present at the graduation party of a friend’s daughter as I looked at pictures on a garage wall of her chubby, adorable self as an infant, then hugged a tall, dark-haired beauty who has been through so much but now walks in hope and grace.
Some ask, where is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is absolutely everywhere, alive and lively, seen by our hearts if not always with our eyes. All we have to do is be tuned in, to interpret events of vitality and love for what they are: the ways of the Holy Spirit, the thread of grace that uplifts and emboldens and brings us into each new day.
May you discover new ways of the Holy Spirit intervening in your life this week. If you feel bold enough to share, please do!