A Pentecost Journey
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
These past weeks and months that I have shared my reflections on our life's journey; I have had the joy of dissecting different aspects that affect our life journey. Yet, it is impossible to reflect on any portion of the journey without realizing that the journey, every singe step of it is 100% gift from God given to us via the Holy Spirit.
As we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, we see the Spirit coming upon the Apostles and disciples of Jesus and a new creation beginning and continuing to this very day in the work of the Church! The Holy Spirit has been with us from the beginning of time when the Spirit came upon the water and the Holy Spirit remains with us today as we struggle though our daily routines. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says "From the beginning until 'the fullness of time,' the joint mission of the Father's Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work." (CCC 702)
Come Holy Spirit, Come!
A Call from the Ordinary
A few weeks ago, my pastor, Father Mark and I has an encounter with the power of the Holy Spirit. We had just completed daily Mass, enjoyed our lunch together and were leaving the restaurant when suddenly Father said, "Let's go visit parishioners at the hospital." I blurted out, "Great idea!"
Within minutes, in my heart I did not feel the hospital visit was the right place for me. I had a strong urge to return to my office at the parish center. Given the choice between visiting the sick with an awesome priest and going back to work behind a desk seemed uncomplicated but on this day, I was very inclined to go to work. So, I told Father Mark that I would rather return to the office. Later he shared that this decision initially surprised him.
When I got back to the parish office and a lady was there with tears in her eyes looking for to chat with me because her father had just died. We spent the next hour crying, laughing and praying while helping her see God's love in these early stages of her grieving process. This hour of sharing was one of the most spiritual and grace filled experience in my ministerial life.
Meanwhile, Father was suddenly called to Emergency Room to minister to a very sick baby with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Was this luck? Was this a pair of coincidences? Not to us or anyone who is willing to let go to the Holy Spirit in their lives. On this day, the Holy Spirit was clearly leading our ministry.
This is not a story that would make the front page of the newspapers or make a good television clip but this day it was clearly the Holy Spirit working in the ordinary lives of two simple workers in God's vineyard.
A Call to Receive the Holy Spirit
All of our lives are full of these unique opportunities to be led by the Spirit. Why? When we are baptized, the priest or deacon pours water on our heads and baptizes us "in the name" of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They become united to the Trinity in a special and mysterious way. From that point forward the Spirit lives in the baptized Christian and that very Holy Spirit is longing to come alive. The Spirit wants to be a partner with us on our journey. How do we respond?
At times in my life, I have tried to be my own master and commander and not respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to guide my life! During those times, my journey was not as full. I did not experience the same richness as I did when I let the Holy Spirit be my guide. The Holy Spirit is longing to flow throughout our lifetime and longing to help us unfold God's Plan in our lives. From the worst situation possible to the greatest spiritual achievement, the Spirit remains present.
Today as you read this reflection, know that the Spirit is calling you to a closer relationship with the Triune God. The Spirit is longing to lead you through the many paths of your journey. The Spirit is longing to assist you with the bumps and bruises that await you in your life's journey. Are you ready to make room for the Spirit in your life? Can you let go to make the Holy Spirit the Master and Commander of your life? On that special Pentecost Sunday almost two thousand years ago, the Apostles said, "yes" to the Spirit and the Church was born. Can you say "yes" to the Spirit in your life and in the lives of the members of your Domestic Church?
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- What in my life most keeps me from saying "yes" to the Holy Spirit?
- How can I show the Holy Spirit's love to those I minister?
From a Family Perspective
- What "coincidences" in your Domestic Church's past were really the influences of the Holy Spirit? (You might want to look at major life events like major sicknesses, academic achievements or interpersonal stresses for examples.)
- How can I say "yes" to the Holy Spirit as parent, sibling, widow or single in my Domestic Church's and thus show the Holy Spirit's love to others?
I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.
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